By Paige Eaglestone
Senior English major Paige Eaglestone writes, writes and writes. She has sharpened her reading skills to review characters, plot turns and themes better than cliff notes.
“Precious” is written by local Boise author Kelly Broich. Since graduating from Boise State in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in social science with a public affairs emphasis, Broich has had three original plays produced and was actively involved in the Absurdist Film Festival. “Precious” is his first novel, published in 2012.
The art of people-watching is something many are reluctant to admit to, much less write about. However, it is human nature to look around at others, eyeing their actions, wondering what their lives are like. This may even happen with people close to us, take for example, our neighbors.
Our neighbors live within our range of sight. If one looks outside their kitchen window and peers into their neighbor’s kitchen, it’s perfectly normal and purely coincidental. Now, if one was to peer into a neighbors’ window and chronicle what they imagine their lives to be like, they might just understand “Precious.”
“Precious” tells the story of Doris and Caleb Stevenson and the events which occur after the untimely death of their fluffy white cat, Precious.
Doris is a lonely elderly lady who lives with her son, Caleb and is suffering from separation anxiety. Caleb, a co-dependent, immature 42 year old man, could care less about the death of his “sister” Precious. He just wants their neighbor, Margrine.
Many people know of someone who does not act their age. Throughout the novel the character of Caleb does just that. He back talks his mother, whines and wishes to simply be left alone.
While this behavior does become bothersome and confusing since Caleb’s actions and dialogue are comparable to a teenager, Broich’s wording is ingenuous; prominently similar to how children act and precisely what they say.
Meanwhile it is the job of the mother to reinforce some retribution, which Doris does, exemplifying the basic dynamics of a parent child relationship.
In this short novel, Broich intertwines the familiar with the unfamiliar. The dialogue between the characters is strikingly normal: “Let’s all try to calm down” and “Don’t raise your voice to me young man.”
Yet the characters themselves remain unusual. Caleb’s love interest is a sex kitten named Margine. Margine, a word comparable to the food Margarine, is often referenced around food. It becomes comical, Margine with a cake, Margine making food.
Nonetheless, it is Broich’s interlacing of the known and unknown which makes this narrative so amusing.
In the very beginning, an upset Doris decides to take her deceased husband’s painkillers before watching a televangelist program. She, in turn, decides to convert and donates a large sum to the program, thus changing her mindset from poignant to anxiety-ridden and taking the storyline in a wacky, rampant direction.
Overall, “Precious” ties in a variety of elements: religion, sexuality, athletics and general neighborly hysteria, making it appealing to all types of readers and students.