I never know to say in these things. I guess that says something about me. I read a lot, write stories, and like books. I like a good debate. Nothing else is to say. :-)
It is a different reading a book where you know all of the characters and their fates from the start. You read about their happiness, loves and sadness knowing in the back of your mind what is to come. And with a story like Achilles and Patroclus...it just makes it extra sad.
Every turn of the page just filled me with dread. But I kept on because it was also fascinating to see how hard they fought to get around their fates, and stretch their time together....but the harder they worked the more it sealed their fate. I think this is why I took a break in the middle of reading for a couple days...some days I want a happy ending and some snuggles and puppies, and I knew this book would not give it to me. It would break my heart. So I had to take a couple days to prepare. I am too soft-hearted for all this tragedy.
It did break my heart, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It is undeniably Patroclus's story, a story about love and acceptance, and pride, and most of all never losing who you are despite the influences that conspired to change you. Achilles wanted to be someone else. He WAS someone else than who others wanted him to be. His mother wanted him to have glory and fame above all else. And not for him, but for her and her pride. The Kings of Greece wanted him as their hero and tool....but Achilles was underneath it all a gentle person, who loved music and loved to sing. That was his true self and that was who Patroclus always saw. There is a point in the book when Patroclus is asked what it is about him that Achilles loves. He was not handsome, or very smart, nor could he fight, or was of any consequence that anyone could see. What was it? He said he did not know. To me it was simple...Achilles loved him and treasured him because he was the only one that saw him for who he was, and was the one that reminded him of that daily. He did not demand that Achilles be someone he was not. He did not want anything from Achilles, but his love. But even in that, he made no demands. He allowed Achilles to maintain his sense of self even through all the outside influence. As long as Patroclus was there and saw him, understood him, and loved him....Achilles would always be the person he saw as his true self. Not the hero or killer...but that gentle boy that loved music. Yes, he lost contact with that boy near the end and failed to live up to all of Patroclus's expectations of him, he was selfish and jealous,and cruel and above all prideful....but again....due to the love he was able to share with Patroclus...he was able to find that boy he once was again. What a sad and tragic figure he was in this book. He tried so hard. I was rooting for him, even if I knew how it would end up. Achilles mother was wrong just as he said; it was not Patroclus that was the unworthy one.
I liked that this was told in Patroclus's point of view...because without him...Achilles would only be seen through his legend...the cold killer....the warrior ...the hero....but like the relationship in the book....through Patroclus...we see him with kinder eyes and through love. That would make Patroclus happy, because it was all he ever wanted right up until the end. For Achilles to be seen as more than his legend, and more than his ability to kill. And isn't that what's love about? Seeing and bringing out the best of each other. Even if we fall short some times, we should never lose site of what it is made u love this person in the first place. Ah, getting sappy. But I loved this book, and I am happy that in the end they got some peace. Those last scenes almost made me cry. Together in life. Together in death finally, what more could anyone ask for?
Excellent read. But now I need something happy and simple to clear the heaviness in my chest.