Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The difference a button makes

I was shopping for a formal blouse the other day, and just couldn't choose between two of them. In basic design they looked similar- but one had white collar and cuffs, and the other had a rounded collar instead of the conventional pointy one. I just couldn't choose between the two, and was deciding to buy the cheaper of the two, when I noticed that the more expensive one had a strategically placed invisble button fastening inwards.

Any one who has worn fitted blouses would know that they have the nasty habit of occasionally gaping open at the wrong place- that invisible button was to prevent that. I did not think any more- I took the shirt to the check-out counter and pulled out my credit card to pay for it.

I had paid 20% more for the shirt than I would have for the other one, and all for the sake of one button that costs much less than the packaging the shirt would have come in. But the button wasn't just a button- it was proof that the shirt was designed by someone who understood the issues women face while wearing a similar shirt. I could see the button, but anyone who had put in that button would also have incorporated a lot of other things I didn't even know I needed. The premium I paid was for that assurance.

Isn't it the same with books. You are enjoying a story, flowing with the events, getting to know the people, and then suddenly one tiny, almost invisible, detail hits you, and makes you pull the book from the catagory of good story and push it into great book. Almost every book I have re-read in my adult life has at least one of those details.


Jan Morrison said...

Yes! A metaphor that would never occur to one, or a plot development that is surprising and right. Sometimes it is just a mood that is so well evoked that I feel I am in the story, tasting the scotch, sitting back on the over-stuffed chair, my stockings riding up in a slightly irritating, slightly sensual way. I'm gone, solid gone.

Anonymous said...

wonderful storyline - sweet detail. Thank you Natasha

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I want that blouse! What woman hasn't looked down (usually at a big fancy social event) and seen that gape? My favourite books are usually about a subject matter close to my heart or written so beautifully that I read with wonder.


Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Jan - I can almost picture you reading that book!!

@ Marian - thank you.

@ Elspeth - that blouse *is* is dream. And I've now decided to sew an extra button onto all my other clothes. I love finding books that fall into the latter category - better than finding a treasure, don't you agree.


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