Saturday, November 10, 2007

Another Day, Nothing to Say

I'm not proud here, folks. I meant to do more reading this month, but the days go by. Tomorrow, I'm drilling firmly toward the end of Angels and Demons, because I have to get it back to the library. I'll be finishing The Name of the Rose soon. But this does not call itself interesting.

Emily and I were just having a conversation, though, about Jodi Picoult. She read My Sister's Keeper, arguably her best book, and hated it very deeply. I think this is interesting because I can't really argue with any of her observations--lots of the characters' behaviors are very unrealistic, and the topic is dealt with in some really irritating ways. The former observation, in my opinion, is a pervasive fault of Jodi Picoult, which is that characters withhold information very unnaturally in order to keep the plot of the book rollling. The latter is more up in the air, but I personally think the only offensive part of the book is the ending, which is a complete cop-out. If you're going to take such a sensitive issue and try to see it from both sides, wrestle it down, you can't let God stop the debate--you owe it to these characters to do something about it.

I'd also add that the romance between the lawyers is unnecessary and unimpressive, and that the mother's near-hysteria is ludicrous.

That said, though, I didn't think of the flaws in the book till Em pointed them out. It's funny, I thought of that as a book I liked (except for the ending). I still do, I guess, even though I can't disagree with her. I really think there's something less offensive about flaws that feel like they are coming from the overly-invasive hand of the author, rather than ones that feel woven into the fabric of the book. But isn't anything woven into the fabric of the book the hand of the author?

I'm having some trouble parsing this. For which I'm grateful, because I have something to write about. For the record, I read about three Picoult books and couldn't read anymore, because they're too much of the same thing in a row--the flaws start to glare. I recognized this a while ago. And I think I might elevate Plain Truth to my favorite of her books.

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