Yesterday I finished reading A Beautiful Mind. It was a long book, and really not what I’d expected, but it was good and I’m glad I read it. Having already seen the movie, I was expecting it to be more of a narrative than a straight biography, but straight biography is what I got. And it was very heavy on the math references. In hindsight, I suppose that’s to be expected from a biography about a mathematical genius. At the time I kind of felt cheated that I had to read about all this math that I could never understand.
I’m glad I read it. Originally I’d picked it out, thinking that reading about someone else’s mental illness might give me some insight into my mother’s mental illness. In the end, it did that, although not in the way I expected. John Nash’s illness, schizophrenia, is nothing like what my mom has. His personal story is nothing like my mom’s. But I guess it was good to read that there was someone else who was dealing with the trials and mistakes that come with mental illness. That despite the mistakes, despite the not knowing, things have a way of coming out ok in the end. I think I know that deep in my heart, but it’s easy to forget sometimes when things are feeling bleak.
In the end, I am glad I read the book, but I’m also glad I’m finished reading it. It was dense and full of references I will never understand and a very slow read. It read more like a textbook than anything else. I learned a lot about Nash’s life that absolutely did not come across in the movie (shocker!). But it was long, it was tedious, and I’m ready for something uplifting.
So what did I pick up next? The Lovely Bones. Oh yeah. This one’s DEFINITELY uplifting. Not. But I will say that it is a quick read, and an interesting one, and that is kind of what I needed. Next I think I will have to pick something light and fluffy that just makes me feel good all over. Something with no drama but that is still entertaining, where everybody is just happy all the time. Is that even possible in life? Is it possible in fiction? Who knows… I’m kind of skeptical.