Reading While Paranoid: The Kristin Vermilya Story

Maybe it’s the nature of the book as tense, fast-paced and written in a stream-of-consciousness style, or maybe it’s the nature of the class as having already proven to be unconventional, but this book makes me paranoid. Take this example: after reading about eighty or so pages in, and constantly (and vigilantly) looking for easter eggs to tweet about, I realized that throughout my book there were multiple series of pages that were slashed in the exact same place. I noticed that each time I turned a page, there was another four-inch cut near the bottom right side  and that it looked as if someone had taken a sharp knife and sliced through the book. Was this an easter egg? Did everyone’s book have this series of identical slices? I had no idea what this meant, so I texted my friend Lewis (also taking Digital Storytelling) and he burst my bubble. No, his book did not have any cuts in the pages.

So I have become paranoid. I think the explanation for this lies within the unreliability of the narrator as well as how the tension of the story builds through stream-of-consciousness. The contradictions of the narrator are apparent on the very first page: “My eyes slammed themselves capital O open and my neck and shoulders arched back in a huge inward heave.” Slammed vs. open, back vs. inward. From the beginning, I can’t picture exactly what the imagery is, and that makes the book both alluring and alienating. The reliability or unreliability of a narrator is something that is questioned when reading any story in first person, however most of the time readers don’t think about it consciously unless there is a reason to question. With this book, I found myself caught up in this scary ride with the narrator that I both wondered how much was real and was afraid to lose the safety net of following along in the confidence of the first person POV. The memory loss contributes most heavily to the sense of unreliability. And the thing is, I want to trust the narrator. I really do. Eric is a likable guy, as seen through the prose of the book and through the letters. However, his memory loss and the experimental nature of the book itself makes me constantly question the reliability of what I am reading. And, with trying to “figure out” a book I’m sure can never completely be “figured out,” I’ve cornered myself into a paranoid state of reading. We’ll see how this progresses through the second half of the book.

-Kristin Vermilya


~ by kristinvermilya on January 13, 2013.

One Response to “Reading While Paranoid: The Kristin Vermilya Story”

  1. This style of writing was prefect because it utilized the author’s style and brought up ideas connecting the reader to the characters.

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