Ruby was not for Kates. It’s well-written and evocative of the South: its slowness, the heat, especially in contrast with the polish and speed of New York City. Ruby does that well.
It’s the ghosts, though, that get me. Of course there were ghosts. This is a book about the evils done to black people in the South – and they are many – and their restless spirits. Even more, it’s the idea that Ruby needs to somehow save these spirits, to calm them, that they are her responsibility.
It’s the author playing with my expectations about this on some level – Ruby is insane and, it’s clear from the beginning, was never going to be able to handle this burden without going mad. But I’ve been taught that there will be a savior, that Ruby will find it within herself to step up and take care of everything. So the dissonance was annoying.
But also, thinking about this, why have I been taught that there will be a savior? That someone will come along and make everything better? Life isn’t like that. Furthermore, I’m not sure we need a savior. We can save our own damn selves, and we work to make the lives around us a little better. No one’s a savior. We all just muddle along, doing the best we can.
Ugh. Give me a comedy of manners where the world’s (or even a community’s) mortal soul isn’t damaged/in peril/in need of repair.