Sunday, October 07, 2012

Steering Friends Wrong

A couple of months ago I thrust the book Twilight Eyes at Brenda, urging her to read it.  It's a book I've read four or five times, but not in at least 15 years.  Dean Koontz is one of those authors I used to read all the time but haven't in ages.  I know that his new books started to turn me off, but I did keep returning to old favorites for a long time, so I imagined that he had changed, not me.

Brenda was less than impressed--which is fine; visceral reactions are personal, especially for things we first experienced in ninth grade--and I got it into my head to pick the book up again myself.  And when the library had the ebook--well, why the heck not?

Wow, Bren, I'm so terribly sorry I subjected you to that.  The book is exactly as I remembered it, and/but there's so much wrong with it!  From the purple prose with multi-page descriptions of the charm and magic of the circus midway (many, many such descriptions), to the seventeen year old narrator's preternatural level-headedness and convenient psychic flashes, to the fact that the first half of the book unfolds in less than a week, including his seduction and wooing of an ice-princess-type woman who magically falls into bed and love with him, and did I mention the long, lavish descriptions of EVERYTHING?  Pages and pages and PAGES of tension building around every little thing.  Maybe I'm a jaded inhabitant of the new millennium when I'm saying you could use a little more action here, dude.

I don't skim, but here I am, skimming. And you know, with the skimming, things are good.  It's the book I remember--the action that does unfold is good, exciting, tense.  It's kind of a worldbuilding novel--it's about the unfolding of all this information about the secret predators that live among us.  And the story it's telling is good--it's just about twice as long as it needs to be to get there. 

I know this reaction is me changing, since the book remains the same.  I do wish I could figure out if it's impatience born of our quick-cut culture, or if it was always this slow, but the building tension really worked for me as a teenager because I had never been that scared before.  Like, NEVER.

Since it's October, I was thinking of rereading 'Salem's Lot, which is (I think) my favorite Stephen King book.  But now I'm worried it won't hold up.  Then again, I didn't even read King for the first time till my mid-20s.  What do you think--will it work out?


Anonymous said...

This exact thing happens with me repeatedly and ALSO a Dean Koontz book, From the Corner of His Eye. I gotta admit I still love it, but it IS terrible!!


Brenda Pike said...

Don't do it! I'm a big fan of Stephen King, but *not* Salem's Lot. I think it's generally a good idea not to reread your teenage book crushes, and that's why I haven't read any Ayn Rand for maybe 15 years.

LibraryHungry said...

I think it's Dean Koontz in general, I think it's time to say goodbye to all those paperbacks.

Brenda, what King DO you like, then? Because there's a lot of icky King out there--late stuff that's too wordy, early stuff that's all about cars, etc.