An Invisible Sign of My Own

An Invisible Sign of My Own Mona Gray is a year old second grade teacher who is in love with quitting until she meets the new science teacher a man with burn marks on his fingers and a genius for teaching children the sympto

  • Title: An Invisible Sign of My Own
  • Author: Aimee Bender
  • ISBN: 9780385492232
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Mona Gray is a 20 year old second grade teacher who is in love with quitting until she meets the new science teacher, a man with burn marks on his fingers and a genius for teaching children the symptoms of scurvy Mona s strange and tidy universe is suddenly threatened by love, the supreme disorder.

    500 Comment

    • Travis says:

      On finishing the book I came to to see what the concensus was and I continue to be amazed at the power of subverted expectations. There are dozens of reviews citing the unbelievability of the circumstances of the book, or the lack of realism in the dialog of second graders and the thin plotting of the book one notable review even complains that this uncertified (and likely certifiable) teacher is handed a classroom.Which has nothing to do with what the book wants to do. Aimee Bender traps us in [...]

    • jo says:

      this book seems to me miraculous. i am blown away. the language is extraordinary -- simple and fluid and always surprising, all sharp angles and painful enchantments -- and what it says, the depth of pain the book carries on its slender breezy back, wow, it left me breathless. strange how much psychic pain such a little funny book can carry, how many deep terrors it can plumb: death, illness, the loss of those we need/love, the body and its redundancies, the unspeakable violence we do to ourselv [...]

    • Anne says:

      oh, aimee bender. it's like you wrote this book and mailed it straight to the little postbox in my heart.

    • Anthony says:

      Just when I was getting a little weary of knocking down the unread pile of books from my shelf, Aimee Bender’s quirky novel about a socially awkward 20 year-old elementary school math teacher pleasantly surprised me with its unique perspective and wittiness. To simply summarize the plot wouldn’t give proper credit to the effect that the first-person narrative has upon the reader. The math teacher, Mona Grey, is a slightly neurotic and eccentric person who obsessively knocks on wood as her [...]

    • Nadine Larter says:

      Feeling humbled by the (to me) unpretentious quirk that is Aimee Bender. How glorious when reading feels a little bit like falling in love - something that you instinctively understand but could not possibly explain. I must admit that for this novel a lot of the charm lay in the reviews of others. Indignant school teachers offended by an inaccurate portrayal of teaching and children. Fussy readers who cannot cope when a story is not "just so" - as if being "realistic" and "structured" is the onl [...]

    • Carrie says:

      The only reason I finished this book was because I thought it was well-written (OK, also because I didn't want to have to bring a dish to book club). I didn't connect with any of the characters and found them annoying. But more than that, this book really offended me as a teacher. The fact that this 19-year-old girl is allowed to just go teach seemed to carry the implication that anyone can do it. Forget about my degree, 60 hour work weeks, and hours upon hours of professional development every [...]

    • Emily says:

      I'd imagine that it'd be difficult to have ambiguous feelings about this book: you'll either love it or hate it. That being said, I loved every bit of it to pieces and have proceeded to carry them in my pocket with me and then scatter them around everywhere I go. An Invisible Sign of My Own covers innumerable heavy subjects in a way that's so delicate and light that you're somehow able to take it all in without being pinned under a leaden weight. The writing is beautiful, like a dark surreal fai [...]

    • Amber Anderson says:

      This is about a young woman (she's between 18 and 20, I think) who stumbles upon a teaching job.She's eccentric, almost OCD, but in a whimsical and charming way that allows her to form interesting relationships with her second grade studentsNot to mention the science teacher, whom she has mixed feelings about. He's cute and fun and she wants to bang him but she's afraid she'll lose him or hurt him or kill him so when she's horny she eats soap to supress her desire. Weird, I know, but within Aime [...]

    • Kirsty says:

      I am a huge fan of Aimee Bender's whimsical, clever work, and very much enjoyed An Invisible Sign of My Own. It is an unusual novel, as I have found all of her work to be, with an awful lot of depth to it. Interesting and strange, An Invisible Sign of My Own has rather an original feel to it, and is filled with glorious descriptions and some quite moving scenes.

    • earthy says:

      Bender's writing style is mesmerizing, which is just as well, since the actual plot and characters in this book are completely unbelieveable and difficult to sympathize with. Other reviewers have mentioned the ridiculous notion that a 19-year-old without any training could be hired (without a resume, without an interview) as an elementary school math teacher, and yes, that's certainly one of the many issues this book has with Realism vs. Artsy, Dream-like Quality. I'm prepared to suspend disbeli [...]

    • Rye says:

      I think I'm going to have to abandon this one about 2/3 of the way through. Aimee Bender's writing kept me in it for as long as I was. There are some really good literary moments. Unfortunately, I have been getting increasingly annoyed with the novel itself. Many of the reviews I have read here reflect on the lack of believability. While I am willing to suspend some of that disbelief for good writing, much of it did not pay off and could have been handled better, particularly in the school scene [...]

    • Bill H says:

      I was bemused by the some of the criticism of this book I've read here and there, mostly complaining about it requiring too much suspension of disbelief. I'm not sure how the author could have more clearly telegraphed THIS IS A FAIRY TALE without, say, huge flaming letters on a mountaintop. I can see how it would be an unsatisfactory read you were demanding realism, but read it instead without that bias and you'll read, I think, the book the author intended.

    • Jenny Schmenny says:

      I loved this. Admittedly, I have a surreal and unhealthy relationship with numbers myself, so I could relate to the plot. There's a leaden quality to the whole story, inertia and weight that threaten to drag the reader down, but here's the thing: you have a choice! You can decide to pluck the beauty and sweetness from down among all those stones. Bender's got some seriously whimsical ways.

    • Jordan says:

      i love working with people who have ocd, but get bored while reading about them. also annoyed when all it takes is a cute boyfriend to make the ocd go away. (though that boyfriend waaaaaaas cute.)

    • Sonia says:

      Ho inaugurato il 2012 con un romanzo che merita davvero.Buon segno per me, per le mie letture, per i miei libri. Un romanzo che fin dalle prime pagine mi aveva già convinta ad attribuirgli le 4 stelline anobiane. Aimée Bender sa scrivere, sa raccontare, sa spiazzare, sa confondere, deludere, rallegrare, inorridire tiene costantemente il nostro bagaglio di emozioni in movimento.Inizia la sua storia con una fiaba dal retrogusto amaro ma dal lieto fine, ed è a quella fiaba che tutto ritorna. Pro [...]

    • Kwoomac says:

      There really wasn't much of a plot in this meandering tale of 19 year old woman, who struggles with most aspects of life, who is grounded only by her love of numbers. Implausibly, she becomes a 2nd grade teacher, without any training, because there is a shortage of teachers and the principal saw her doing long-division in a park for fun. Really ! Most of the characters in the book are just variations of the main character, Mona Gray. Her next door neighbor fashions numbers out of wax to wear aro [...]

    • Audrey says:

      Aimee Bender is one of my new favorite novelist/short story writers. Her short stories, for me, fall into the same category as Kelly Link's work: these magical little gems that are weird and wonderful and can't be nicely wrapped up. There's just something about them that I adore, even when I don't like certain things about them. That's the case with this novel. There was so much that I loved: the language, the symbolism, the quirkiness, the emotion (what a SAD novel this was, in many ways). BUT [...]

    • Ray says:

      My favorite Bender thus far. Loved everything about this story. The characters, the premise, the prologue everything. Never stop writing Aimee!!

    • Anncleire says:

      Recensione anche sul mio blog:pleaseanotherbook.tumblr/p“Un segno invisibile e mio” è l’ultimo libro di Aimee Bender che ho letto e di cui mi sono innamorata ancora una volta. Edito da Minimum Fax è una storia irreale, magica e incredibilmente toccante, che naviga nelle acque del magic realism e ne esce edulcorata da ogni logica, per restituire una prospettiva nuova sul mondo. Mona racchiude tutte le idiosincrasie di una società che sfugge alla logica imprevedibile del tempo, accompagna [...]

    • christa says:

      Sometimes I make grand statements about myself that sound like facts but really aren’t true at all. The one running through my head right now is along the lines of how I hate quirky-for-quirkies-sake, but that Aimee Bender avoided that pratfall with her weird world of Mona Gray in the novel “An Invisible Sign of My Own.” But I don’t really hate quirky-for-quirkies sake. I love Miranda July and her quirkiness is an affectation more jarring than a monocle god love her. She once set her sho [...]

    • Marielle says:

      This book was simply awesome! The character of Mona Gray had many traits that I see in myself. It will make you feel more comfortable with your idiosyncricies, and allow you to realize that you are not the only one who notices you have them. Written in a flowing, funny, easy to read, but poetic style, I soon realized after the first few chapters that this book was rich beyond comparison to most, with many layers of story including heart, life, disease, coming of age, and learning to care about o [...]

    • Siobhán Mc Laughlin says:

      I started out liking this book - the fairytale element, the clever use of numbers as a thematic component, the lovely lyrical language that carries you along in a quicksilver current from line to line, page to page, as in a dream.But then somehow, somewhere, it flopped. The plot was flimsy, at best. And its dark subject matter - death, cancer, mental illness - is not dealt with sharply enough, hovers as a mere shadow on the narrative that never fully comes into the light. Things are vague, too v [...]

    • Chris Ruggeri says:

      Good book. I especially liked the two stories (fables? allegories?) that bookend the action. Just not sure about all the stuff in between. I mean, I got it in the end. It made sense, what she was going for, and I can see how the whole story was working towards her point, but it just seemed like it took a lot of endurance to get there. It felt like a good portion of the story was just Bender spinning her wheels, showing off her considerable talent for finding uncommon descriptions of things--whic [...]

    • Tatiana says:

      I loved this, but not in a love-love sort of way. Love like part awe, part disturb. Now that I have read both The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and An Invisible Sign of my Own, I am sure of one thing: I am envious of Aimee Bender’s remarkable talent. She astounds me with her feeling, ecstatic prose. There is a magnetism to her worlds, a high-wire act, which plants you in the magical realism that is enough like reality to fool you, to draw you in--until it’s too late. It sounds like I’m [...]

    • steffy says:

      "I laugh just like my mother, is what she usually said, in horror. Oh God, she said, I'm so terrified I'm going to be exactly like my mother. I nodded when she said it, but I never really understood her. I didn't understand the big deal. Everyone said what she said, but it was the opposite that broke my heart."I think I could love this book by that moment alone, because it truly captures how I have felt about my mom since she passed. But that is not what this story is about, nor is it why I love [...]

    • Joanna says:

      I just really like Aimee Bender's writing. I was disappointed with The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but loved Willful Creatures. This book gets inside the head of loveable, flawed, slightly OCD Mona. As she goes about her compulsive knocking on wood, and her misplaced focus on certain things to the exclusion of others, I was sailing along. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone. There are no explanations of what's really happening. For example, Mona's father is ill (or is he?) with an unexpl [...]

    • Andrew says:

      DNF at page 80. Overly pretentious writing similar to her most disappointing short stories, coupled with flowery descriptions of gratioutous self harmabsolutely not for me.

    • Kathryn Juergens says:

      In my book club, we take turns choosing the book. There are only two rules: try to pick a book no one has read and no books written by dead white men. My first choice for this month was actually Aimee Bender's newest book, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. One member was already halfway through the book so instead I chose An Invisible Sign of My Own, her first novel. An Invisible Sign of My Own has all of the bits that I love about Aimee Bender: the surrealism, the delicate language, and the [...]

    • Jill says:

      Aimee Bender constructs her sentences like no other, and I think that's what draws me into her books and stories. She's enchantingly poetic even when she's describing unsavory things (in this case, like the narrator sticking a bar of soap into her mouth. Who would imagine that a scene like that would sound beautiful? But somehow it does). She also kicks ass at blending the traditional with the unexpected by holding a magnifying glass to characters' quirks and hangups. On the surface, and in the [...]

    • Lenore Beadsman64 says:

      un segno visibile e purtroppo condivisomeno coeso di L'Inconfondibile tristezza della torta al limone, è tutto incentrato sui problemi di incomunicabilità di Mona e, da un certo punto in poi, sui suoi deliritratto caratteriale ossessivo-compulsivo, Mona è una giovane donna che cerca di sopravvivere alle sue idiosincrasie, che sono abbastanza da renderle difficile il rapporto umano, e insegna matematica alle elementarii danni che può fare una persona con simili problemi in una scuola elementa [...]

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