Monday, July 23, 2012

Book #100: The Tracey Fragments

Title: The Tracey Fragments

Author: Maureen Medved

Date started reading: July 24, 2012
Date finished reading:  July 24, 2012

Publish date: November 1998
ISBN: 978-0887846243
Number of pages: 156

Book summary: "Naked under a tattered shower curtain, 15-year-old Tracey Berkowitz has been sitting on a bus for two days, telling her story and looking for her brother, Sonny, who thinks he’s a dog. She confesses her hopes and fantasies, as well as the grief and horror of a hardscrabble life. As time passes, Tracey’s stories begin to twist the truth and entwine it with lies, at once captivating and unsettling the reader." (

Movie trailer:

How I obtained the book: Bought on Alibris for $3.99 (Subtotal was $0 due to coupon code. $3.99 was all shipping)

My commentary:
  • I found out about this book years ago when I stumbled across the movie somewhere. I loved the DVD cover with Ellen Page broken up in fragments. I knew I was going to buy the movie before I even read the description because I feel like I'm broken up in pieces all the time.
  • After watching the movie, I found out it was based on a book. I have spent years trying to find the book in stores, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I even checked the Barnes & Noble stock through its website for my entire state and other states, but nowhere had it. I kept thinking about buying it online, but most websites that did have it were charging full price plus shipping. I finally found it where it would be free using an online coupon code, with the shipping cost being all I'd have to pay.
  • The book turned out to be exactly what I had hoped it would be. The movie is a great representation of the book. It's basically like trying to read the diary of a mental hospital patient, and I loved it. It was random thoughts and fragments of stories strung together. Being bipolar and having borderline personality (and having a brother who has schizophrenia), I know exactly how a fragmented mind works, and the author captures it amazingly. And since it's all from Tracey's perspective, it feels like she's talking straight to you. I see a lot of myself and my brother in Tracey. 
  • Tracey often refers to herself as "It." That really spoke to me because I often feel like a thing, not a real person. Her detachment from reality is so captivating.
  • It was definitely worth the wait and the time it took to finally get a copy of the book. It was also the perfect choice to be my 100th book of the year.

Memorable quotes (all by Tracey):
  • "I'm so happy. Have an amazing life. Now I'm going to scratch my eyes out. Think I'm funny? I'M AN EMERGENCY -- sitting here, naked underneath the flowers of this scummy shower curtain. IT'S NOT MY FAULT. My DNA's fucked." 
  • "The world sucks. No matter how you cut the world." 
  • "I couldn't stay within the lines. I couldn't write properly, either. My mind is too small. ... My mind was so small it flew outside the world to other more extraordinary places. It wasn't that I couldn't concentrate. I concentrated too hard. I concentrated so hard it made all the colours in the world fall down a black hole." 
  • "Life goes in, life goes out." 
  • "It was hard having two identities: normal teenager and biker bitch. I was tired of having to explain it, or whatever." 
  • "When I'm depressed, I like to be around other depressed people. Depressed people make me happy. ... Happy people depress me. They're shiny. Their teeth knife so bright and white it's blinding. Look around you -- there there and there -- happy people all over the place like an infection."
  • "Murder. I think about murder a lot. I have this medical condition. Makes me want to kill and fuck all the time. Lucky for us, it's in remission."
  • "It's hard to tell the difference between what's real and what's not when your whole life is inside your head. What's made up is usually better than what's real anyway. It's pretty much a no-brainer." 
  • "Things aren't as bad as they seem. They're worse."
  • "I am a very passionate person. I was born to love, no matter what. Just look at me, sitting here, naked on the bus. Love pumps through my blood. Not from my parents. In our family, passion's like diabetes -- it skips a generation." 
  • "In our family, we don't believe in anything." 
  • "Love is dangerous. It's something to run away from." 
  • "Everything good dies fast. Everything rotten always lasts. Flowers shrivel as soon as they bloom. Weeds shoot up everywhere and eat the grass."
  • "Love will whirl through his mind like little tornadoes."
  • "Lying in the plastic garden, I couldn't help thinking this must be what happens to birds when they die. They hide so that nobody can find them, turning into bird dust. You never see a dead bird unless it bashes into a building or gets hit by a car. They're probably just more intelligent than humans." 
  • "Tits were crucial. At our school the girls wore their tits like medals. They walked with their chests out. They walked like this. All over our school, big fat tits floating separate from the girls who wore them."
  • "Beauty tortures. How come beauty burns everything away so the rest of the world -- even me -- disappears?" 
  • "I want Billy Speed to put his cock inside me and say I love you in that order. Then I won't be afraid to die. Birds and bugs and bees die after they fuck." 
  • "If you're famous it doesn't even matter if you're dead because you're still beautiful. Look int he magazines. It's in there."
  • "I'm not what you think. I'm not junk. I'm not a dink. I'm not garbage flowers you leave to rot and stink and smell and curl up all dry and papery so they crumble as crusty as the flowers on this fucked up shower curtain. I'm not like that."
  • "There's no such thing as true love. I want to kill God." 
  • "People looked at me, then looked away, like I'm an accident." 
  • "I go on these little vacations in my head."
  • "Only boring people get bored."
  •  " 'I swallowed the sun.' That's the last thing my grandmother said."
  • "One day you fall for this boy. In the middle of nowhere. In the middle of snow. He touches your body with his fingers. He burns holes in your skin with his mouth. And it hurts when you look at him. And it hurts when you don't. And it feels like someone cuts you open with a jagged piece of glass. And then you realize you always felt that way. I can't stop these tears from burning my eyes. I can't stop tearing my skin apart. I can't stop tearing my eyes out. I can't grab hold of anything. Even as I grab hold of the sides of this hole everything crumbles up around me. Nothing matters."

Buy on The Tracey Fragments

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