It’s my favorite book of all-time, but I haven’t even given it a proper review! I’ve been scared of doing this book an injustice, somehow spoiling it with my inadequate words. Not to mention, I didn’t yet share this blog with Sabrina when I read Marrow at the beginning of 2016.
Seeing as it’s my favorite, I thought I’d ensure my year started off on the right foot with a novel I found meaningful. You might ask why I love a book with a vengeful murderess most of all? Well, it’s a long story, some of it is too personal to share with a world of strangers, but I’ll do my best to explain.
The beginning of Marrow is like a soul hug. I can’t describe it any other way. Everyone talks about Mud Vein being Tarryn’s ultimate healer, but Marrow heals my marrow. My childhood was very different from the main character, Margo’s, but the feelings the writing is able to convey echo the life I used to lead. Margo is my homegirl. Tarryn’s ability to correctly convey such a downtrodden world may seem overly depressive to many readers, but this book serves an important purpose. Many of us live incredibly privileged lives – we can’t properly understand human suffering, evil people, brokenness, lousy parents, or poverty. Tarryn takes her readers to these dark places and drowns them. Our American society pressures us to have Pinterest-perfect lives, but many aren’t so #blessed. Marrow makes readers see past the end of their nose and shouts to the suffering, “I see you. You’re not alone.”
“People – our dads, our moms, our friends – they are so broken they don’t even know that most of what they do reflects that brokenness. They just hurt whoever is in their wake. They don’t sit and think about what their hurt is doing to us. Pain makes humans selfish. Blocked off. Focused inward instead of outward.”
We follow Margo as she grows older, and begin to see the world wearing her down, making her jaded until she eventually becomes what many would consider a villain. To me, she’s more aptly an anti-heroine. The two sides of Margo are as opposite as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She begins seeking vengeance for the weak, defending those who can’t defend themselves, like the female version of The Punisher. I have a hard time finding many faults with such a character, one who demands justice be served at all costs. I find the dark thoughts of myself reflected in the pages of Margo’s actions. I wish for revenge for the weak, the abused and mistreated, in this life and the next because it is deserved.
At this point, unless you’re a masochist or someone who enjoys dark novels, you’re probably questioning why the heck anyone would want to immerse themselves in suffering and sadness. My answer is simply because it’s message is vital. Getting outside of our own bubble allows us to become more empathetic and compassionate. We have no right to complain about the state of the world unless we are actively trying to ease the suffering of those around us. Marrow is a stark look at humanity, but it can teach us to love and even forgive, too.
“You are worth loving. They just don’t have any love to give. Forgive them, Margo.”
This genre-defying novel feels like a mash-up of two books in one, done in less than 300 pages. Some parts are hard to read – you’ll feel angry, sad, and confused. I encourage you to go there anyway. It is hands-down the most unique novel I’ve ever read, it’s humanity seeps from the pages. The imagery so clear, I can plainly see fictional Bone Harbor, Washington as the drizzly dump it is in my mind’s eye, and still feel slightly fond of it, despite its debauchery. Tarryn’s writing is truly masterful and her author’s note at the end is the perfect resolution and explanation for the ride she takes her readers on. I wish I could crawl inside her mind and paw around for a little while. J.D Salinger’s quote from The Catcher in the Rye never felt as applicable to me as it did after reading Marrow:
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
At the end of this review, I still feel my words have failed me, but I hope you’ll pick up this novel with the links below, regardless.
Rrrrrra ta ta ta.