Week 3 Response

The piece I chose to read and respond to this week is called “The Codeine of Jordan” by J.S. Brown. It is published in the latest issue of Bellevue Literary Review Fall 2011 Volume 11 Number 2 (http://blr.med.nyu.edu/content/current/codeineofjordan).  This piece drew me in after only reading the first sentence, and she kept me interested throughout. Brown is describing a very uncomfortable series of events in this story about her search, in a foreign country, for medicine to treat her urinary tract infection. Despite that fact, she is able to maintain a humorous tone. One example is her description of a hotel bathroom in Jordan (the country). She eloquently describes it to the reader providing them with a detailed image, and ends by describing herself as “perpetually posed for leap frog,” maintaining the humor in spite of her awful situation.  As she informs the reader in the very beginning, she is Jewish, in a Muslim nation, gallivanting around with a Mexican boy who is nine years younger than her. Brown describes the scene at the Jordanian doctor’s office and how vast the cultural divide is. The doctor asks if she is single or married, her answer is the former, and the doctor assumes that she is a virgin and excludes sexual intercourse as a possible cause of her infection until later in the conversation. The description of this scene is amazing; I could see it so clearly in my head as I read. By the conclusion of this story, Brown has touched on some other things that are going on in her life such as the reason for her trip and how she encountered the Mexican boy. She almost leaves the reader thinking that she saw the infection as punishment for cheating on her boyfriend/fiancé when she resolves not to havesex with the Mexican boy anymore. Then, in the very last sentence she brings back the humor when she admits that she does have sex with him again, eight hours later. I really loved this piece. It made me glad I am forced to seek out nonfiction pieces published in literary journals and magazines each week. It was such a great story in and of itself, and the fact that it was really well written just put it over the top for me. It was a very quick and enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it to everyone!

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