Friday, November 18, 2011

The Old Wives Tale, Pt 2- Oh Dear God I Read Slow

I am now halfway through this book. That's it. Half Way. I started reading this book in JUNE and I am now half way. And I don't even mean mathematically halfway, I mean thematically half way, as I am about to start section three of four. This is incredibly lame. This whole "having an actual full time job that runs you between 50 and 60 hours a week" thing is just not gelling with my whole reading schedule, so I guess it's about time to quit.

But anyways, the book. So far this whole thing is an immense sad bastard sob fest where people try desperately to hold on to their families, and then people in the families leave. This happened to the mother character, then the first daughter character. I'm about to find out the story of the second daughter character, who left in the first portion of the book. Unfortunately, it takes a REALLY long time for people to pack their stuff and take off. Each section could be it's own, smaller novel. If this happens in the third one, I'm gonna burn any physical copy I can get my hands on along with a copy of "On the Road." Editing, people who have long since passed away. Learn how to use it. Also, learn how to time travel so you can come read my opinion on this blog.

If the book aims to be one of those stories that's about the journey more than the destination (which, granted, almost all books should be), then I still cry editing foul. The book will present something interesting and well written for about two pages, then slouch back into tedious drivel that over explains the day in day out nonsense of people in the late 1800's. Again, there's nothing wrong with a book that makes it's way through a bunch of nonsense, but there needs to be a reason we plow through and The Old Wive's Tale doesn't have enough tedium to be tedious for tedium's sake and no where near enough excitement to make the nonsense exciting. The small moments in there that are funny or gripping (such as the monologue from the view point of a new born baby) stand out and serve as excellent pieces of prose, but the rest of the book seriously falls short.

I will say that the form of the book has been an interesting puzzle to decipher as I have moved through. Each chapter suddenly jumps to a different place in the time line of the family's life, sometime by a few months and at other times by a few years. These jumps are never specifically stated, so at the beginning of each chapter, all of the characters need to be reexamined and understood all over again. While this does not pose much of a problem for the older characters, the baby mentioned in the previous paragraph jumps from new born to college student in about four swift bursts. This provides the reader with a fresh start every time, reaffirming those things that truly define the character and shedding those traits that are a product of the character's age.

So I read on. Hopefully this time with more swiftness.

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