Sentimental value

Posted by September Blue Wednesday, 11 July 2007

I have a book with a loving inscription from a boyfriend. It's not my boyfriend. In fact, it's not my book.

One of my friends broke up with her boyfriend a few years ago, and couldn't bear to break up with everything that carried memories of him as well. You can give away clothes, and delete e-mails, and leave spider-plants out on the pavement with "Child Of Broken Home - Free To Understanding Windowsill" scribbled on a note, but what do you do with a book that has "Remember the good times!" on the inside front cover? Write off the good times and give it away? Break with all your principles about books and destroy it? Leave it on your bookshelf, and be reminded of the good times and the bad times both every time you're looking for something else? Eventually, she gave it to me, on the understanding that I was just holding it for her. Permanently.

So now she's moved on and out of my life, and I've got a book which still says "Love you forever" below her initials. Even if I could get in touch with her, I doubt she'd want it back. But giving it away would feel like breaking a promise, and I couldn't ever just throw it out, and while there's probably a blog post in there somewhere about what being the guardian of somebody else's love letters says about my life, I can't think of anything to do with it. Even if I could mentally separate the book from its inscription - which, given the circumstances, is unlikely - it's not an author I like.

So there it sits. Waiting.

Anybody want a copy of Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda? Just to borrow, you understand...


  1. Quillhill Says:
  2. Inscriptions tell the history of the book itself, make it an artifact. They actually tell their own story, to which the story contained in the book becomes a subplot. I'd be delighted to accept the book from you and give it a loving home.

  3. Quilhill: Someone already offered to take it if I need the space, but thank you so much! It's a shame its original owner doesn't still have it, really... it truly is a sweet inscription.