But even though Balogh's stories all have a happy ending, I'm always left with a bittersweet feeling after finishing her books. She dissects human emotions without any complacency, and she's so terrifyingly accurate. You know it's never gonna be "happily ever after" as in fairytales. The couples may have found happiness together, but the story goes one. There will still be struggles, conflicts, heartache and loss. As in real life. I don't get that bittersweet feeling with Gracie.
Balogh describes both the horror and the beauty of the human condition and human struggles so perfectly that reading her books somewhat feels like torture. And I can't even say that I personally related to the characters' struggles. I don't know how to describe it. It's just that the feelings and emotions are so real, I mean it feels so real that it's very hard to distance oneself and to just superficially "enjoy" the reading. Not that the point is to distance oneself, mind you. I couldn't even if I tried.
Can't wait to read James and Mad's story and am bracing myself for that future "ordeal". But yeah, as Alana wrote, what a story, what a writer! In all the authors I've read so far, Balogh's really the best.
Yes, Balogh is in a class by herself. As you say, she "dissects human emotions without any complacency, and she's so terrifyingly accurate."
That is a big part of what we are after here: learning objectivity by PRACTICING it even if only vicariously. In a sense, this reading project is like doing page after page of mathematical calculations in order to sharpen one's skill.
What is so darned amazing is the fact that Balogh takes us inside the heads of her characters and so often what we find inside their heads is what has been inside our own heads. At the same time, we witness the external events and learn to see how twisted thinking can distort reality. Then, we see what it is like to gradually shed the distortion and learn to face reality as it is. It's like practicing within some kind of feedback system.
And no, you can't just "enjoy" Balogh... you enter that world and experience it through numerous eyes/minds/hearts and I think it develops and grows empathy along with objectivity.
Thankfully, Balogh wrote a lot.