Have you ever fallen in love with someone you’ve never met? Someone who, if passed on the street, you might not give a second glance? Imagine inviting that same person into your home, evening after evening, enjoying glasses of wine together and sharing snippets of life’s experiences, the joys and sorrows, the trials and triumphs.
A few years ago, I heard of a woman who was embarking on a journey – a cross-country road trip. I recall feeling a twinge of jealousy, envious of the glamour, the romance and the freedom she’d experience. Occasionally, I wondered how she was faring. I casually connected with her via social media, networked through Neil, Maggie, and others, but otherwise, didn’t pay much attention. Then, one day her name popped up as, like a crocus defying Spring’s frozen ground, Jane Devin struggled to bring “Elephant Girl” into the world.
In reading Elephant Girl, I fell in love with Jane. She shares her story as though we are already trusted friends. She is engaging and articulate, baring her soul, exposing her fears and her battles against oppression and undeserved shame, as she struggles to overcome life’s challenges. It didn’t matter that these chapters of her life were behind her, I cheered for her, offering tears, words of encouragement, and shaking fists of anger at her foes.
“Sometimes it feels like I have pocketfuls and pocketfuls of love, but nowhere to spend more than a penny or nickel of it at a time. As currency, though, my love has always fallen short. I am a pauper with dirty hands, holding out an abundance of spare change-an embarrassment of coins, in a world of clean, crisp checks torn from a book I’ve never owned.”
With all the love she has to offer, I want to wrap my arms around her and reassure her that she is good, and kind, and lovable, and worthy. Jane’s story is sometimes hard to read, the grim insight into the reality of abuse and poverty might cause a casual reader some discomfort. This book is for those who are willing to stick with a friend through thick and thin, not turning away during the worst of times. It’s unlikely you’ll agree with all of her political and philosophical positions, but good friends don’t always have to agree on everything. If you’re up for it, though, this Elephant Girl’s a friend worth having.