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.



Trump said...

I feel this way about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. A lot of people I know and whose judgement and recommendations I trust have loved this series. So, I borrowed them and eagerly started to read the first one. I have read the first chapter or two about three times and have yet to get any farther in the first book. I haven't returned them yet, but I'm pretty sure there are many other things for me to read. Hope your #4 is better!

Schovillova said...

Trump -

I have heard mixed reviews regarding the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series so it's still pretty far down my list. I just picked my #4 off my shelf today - 'Like Eating a Stone, Surviving the Past in Bosnia.' I picked this book up when I was at the Holocaust Museum in DC a few years ago. I can't say it's going to be a happy read. Wish me luck.


PS - Read The Fault in our Stars. Seriously.

Betsy said...

Oh now this is too ironic. My normally well read mother also recommended this Harlequin romance novel to me. She hounded me to read it, claiming it was so great. Crap and double crap, I say! Let's pinky swear to only recommend books to each other. Then we can go ahead and just put our mothers in a book club together.

Schovillova said...

OMG Betsy I would die if my mom recommended a Harlequin. I will gladly take any of your recommendations! In other news, my mom is going to be so pissed when she reads this post. Ha.

Trump said...

I'll add that one to my list of things to read.

Good luck with #4. I am about to start Salvaged Pages, Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust. It won't be an easy read either. But I'm going to a workshop by the author so I want to read at least part of the book before then.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe you'd throw Mom under the bus in public! Now I have to read it to see which way I go....this is your sister.