Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dear Mom, How Could You?

Dear Mom,

I have spent my whole life taking your advice (ok, most of the time), learning from your experiences, hanging on your every word, and most importantly taking your book recommendaitons. As a mom this is a very important role for you to play in my life. As a result you have led me to some of my faves like Gone with the Wind, The Alienist, An Unquiet Mind, The Robber Bride...  All terrific reads. All flawless recommendations. Until now. Thus Dear Mother, I say to thee.. seriously?

Introducing my #3: A Reliable Wife, C-

I'll be honest, even the C- seems slightly generous. My Dear Mom recommended this nugget to me about a year ago and after 10 different attempts to read it, I finally forced my way through it. I kept hoping that it would get better but by a  third of the way into it I soon discovered that I was being driven only by the desire to check this off as my number 3 read of the year.

What a disappoint this was. The novel started off slowly and depressingly, against the backdrop of a turn of the century Wisconsin winter and it stayed that way. I was depressed and anxious from start to finish while the one dimensional characters were consumed of sex and revenge and the townspeople were busy eating dictionaries, hanging themselves, and throwing their children down wells. That last bit makes this book sound way more interesting that it was. My anxiety came from my waiting for the plot to improve, waiting in vain for that No way! moment. But instead I found myself only saying Damn all these mundane details, gray skies and white snow, when will this effing book end.

Notice that the cover reads '#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER'. So not only was I completely depressed upon finishing, but I left feeling totally disillusioned by the #1 Best Seller status. What was wrong with me that I hated the shit out of this book? A quick glance at Amazon had me feeling better as I discovered that I was not in fact alone with my disdain. The reviews were all over the map with some ranking it as 5 stars (like my mom perhaps) while others gave it only 1. I was in good company.

So no, I won't rehash the plot lines or giveaway the ending. I'd hate to ruin the experience for you should you decide to venture down this depressing-ass path. Maybe you'll like it and maybe you won't make it through the first chapter but either way please remember:

I do not recommend this read but my mom does.