NOTE: I listened to this novel as an audiobook during my daily commute so I don’t have as many notes as I'd like to.
- You ought to be able to grow up in a place and not have to get the hell out of it when you turn eighteen.”
- “this is what it means to get old, you don’t look forward to pleasure so much as easing pain.”
- “Same as what they taught you as a lifeguard- you have to save yourself before you can save anyone else. ”
- “And one day...there would be no record, nothing left standing, to show that anything had ever been built in America. It was going to cause big problems, he didn't know how but he felt it. You could not have a country, not this big, that didn't make things for itself. There would be ramifications eventually.”
- Lee English is the one character that escapes the gravity of the town and graduates from Yale University, later marrying into a wealthy family. In commenting on her cohort of acquaintances in colleges she comments that most of them will never experience the feeling on wanting something and never getting it. She views this as a weakness but it's also seeded in the bitterness of her own background where that's the central feeling that most people experience (Chapter 5, 33:08 in the audiobook).
- The soul and society crushing reality of losing a skilled steel-making job and no longer having something that you're good at (Chapter 14, 06:16).
- The idea that rich people view the world the same way as someone with brain damage--they don't understand the realities of life (Chapter 20, 18:55).