An Invisible Sign of My Own

An Invisible Sign of My Own

A Novel

Book - 2000
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An incandescent novel by one of America's most gifted young writers. With her stunning debut collection of stories, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Aimee Bender showed herself to be "a writer who makes you glad for the very existence of language" San Francisco Chronicle. The book was a sensation; it spent seven weeks on The Los Angeles Times bestseller list, received ecstatic reviews nationwide, and established Aimee Bender as one of the freshest and most original voices in American fiction. In An Invisible Sign of My Own, Aimee Bender exceeds her early promise. She gives us the story of Mona Gray, a second-grade math teacher who has just turned twenty--a number which, like all numbers in her life, seems to have a profound significance. Mona lives her life under the shadow of her father's long, weird, unnamed illness and her own bizarre compulsions. She excels at music, running, and sex, but ceases each activity just at the moment enjoyment becomes intense: Mona is "in love with quitting."  Only numbers provide the order and beauty she craves. "Mix up some numbers and you get an equation for the way the wind shifts or an axiom for the movement of water, or the height of someone, or for how skin feels. You can account for softness. You can explain everything." With construction paper and Magic Markers, Mona arranges her classroom into "a beautiful museum of numbers," but that could also describe her life: a collection of oddities, a static place, a hushed and insular world where disruption is unwelcome. Then the science teacher arrives, with burn marks on his fingers and a genius for teaching children the joys of coughing, and Mona's strange and tidy universe is threatened by love, the supreme disorder.  In her luminous, pitch-perfect prose, Bender conjures a dream world much like our own, a fairy tale grounded in a penetrating sense of what moves the human heart.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2000
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385492232
0385492235
Characteristics: 242 p. ; 25 cm

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cheriemoses
Jan 27, 2014

This book became vapid after the repetitive prose and the lengthy descriptions of what appears to be a disorder, like obsessive compulsive disorder. The main character has tics that are coupled with her mathematical genius. However, it is very hard to feel empathy for the character, who is rather two dimensional and for whom one loses compassion as her actions result in harm to children. This book is not a good read and is not very insightful into people with disorders. I finished the book to see if the end justified the means, but it didn't.

melissapowl Apr 24, 2009

My litmus test for a novel is whether or not it leaves a lasting impression--I don't have to think long to remember I read it. Well, I won't soon forget this book. Really quirky with a set of weird characters, all of whom have some serious issues. I picked it up because of the references to mathematics (loved the Numbers and Materials!), but wound up enjoying the sparse, unusual writing style and simply had to keep reading it even when I wondered why. It definitely isn't for everyone but the ending is surprisingly satisfying. I've also seen different versions of the cover which might make it more appealing.

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