It reminded me of this book I read by J.D. Salinger, Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters, and Seymour, an Introduction (get over the long double title, it's an excellent book). In it the narrator describes a little girl that walks up to this family looking so sweet and perfect one of the boys in the family, who likes the little girl a lot and is good friends with her, throws a rock at her face. Now that's a terrible thing to do, but when I read it, I totally understood why someone might do such a thing. I might have even done it myself. (Side note, I've thought a lot about why he threw the rock, and here is my conclusion: I think it was because she looked so perfect he was compelled to--the same way we are all a little compelled to step into freshly fallen snow. It's so beautiful we just have to be a part of it, even if the only way to do so is by destroying it.)
That, is what I think of as good writing: when you can stick a stranger into a situation that is totally foreign to them and get them to understand it through another person's eyes. A good author can sink the reader into another person, suspend their disbelief enough to have them feel totally differently about a situation than they normally would--not indefinitely, but enough for the story. Man what talent. And what a gift. This is why reading is such a big deal. You can never be someone else, you can't really, truly understand someone else. Tennessee Williams said we are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins. But a book...a book so much more than a movie, or a play, or a conversation requires you to come as close as language allows. We are so lucky to have books.
Well this is a rambling post. I love books. This was a fun one.