Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Wait. Do I have the right version of this book? Because everyone I know who has picked it up has fallen into an immediate trance-like addiction. I'm on page 110 and with every page I am more and more mystified at how any one in the world would give a flying fuck about any of these characters.
Flat and one-dimensional hardly begins to cover them. The writing is what I'd expect from a not-very talented twelve-year old.
Okay. I opened the book at random for this sampling:
"Don't be afraid," he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionally seductive. "I promise..." He hesitated. "I swear not to hurt you." He seemed more concerned with convincing himself than me.
"Don't be afraid," he whispered again as he stepped closer, with exaggerated slowness. He sat sinuously, with deliberately unhurried movements, till our faces were on the same level, just a foot apart.
"Please forgive me," he said formally. "I can control myself. You caught me off guard. But I'm on my best behavior now."
He waited but I still couldn't speak.
"I'm not thirsty today, honestly." He winked.
So first off he's unintentionally seductive. How would the other character know he was being unintentionally seductive? And then he's more concerned with his own feelings than hers. Again, how would she know?
And then he's speaking "formally." What is that?
And then he winks.
And how do you sit sinuously? I thought sinuously had to do with a sort of movement. Not with sitting.
I keep thinking about Stephen King's advice to writers (and no, Stephen King is hardly the world's best but compared to this author, he's freaking Leo Tolstoy) about adverbs. "They are not your friend," he says. If you took out every adverb in Ms. Meyer's book, there would be about ten pages to it.
And every bit of writing advice I have ever seen has said, "SHOW, don't tell." She tells. Over and over again. Frequently changing the mood, the voice, the EVERYTHING every different paragraph.
Really? Some one from a publishing house read enough pages of this tripe to get to the good part? How far do I have to wade into the brown, muddy waters to get to the good part? Is there a good part? Because I'm about to toss this aside and get on with my life.
Part of my perfect weekend was listening to the Poisonwood Bible on tape. Now I have read this beautiful book by Barbara Kingsolver before and it has been a complete and utter joy to listen to it. Now THAT is a good book. It was written by someone who knows how to use language, how to tell a story, how to use voice and setting and who has powerful things to say and the resources with which to say them. Barbara Kingsolver makes me want to strive to use words the way she does. She makes me sit up and pay attention. She makes me completely envious of her abilities, her talents, and the way she can create a world and gently slip me into it, seeing the Congo through her characters' eyes.
She sort of makes me want to laugh.
But I just don't care enough.
Okay. Let me have it. Tell me why I should give this book another ten pages, much less go on to the end and then read the next three books in the series. Because right now my eyes start to boil in my head every time I open it up.
"She opened the book and found her place in its thick, white pages. As her eyes traveled down the sinuously arranged type of the words, she began to wonder, the velvet voice of her mind speaking to her slowly and forcefully, WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?"