Saturday, April 12, 2014

Breaking Up With a Book

It happens, from time to time.

You jump into a novel for which buzz is beginning to build, and from the minute you start you realize this is going to be one of those with very little light, but that's okay. You are, after all, not a reader who minds being challenged by novels that are tough going because of their subject matter.

And then.... something in the book is so jarring to your sensibilities that you realize you really just are not willing to continue. In the case of the book I just put down it was a very graphic depiction of a very disturbed child engaging in an unnatural act. That's really all you need to know.

I don't require butterflies and unicorns. I understand that, in fiction, I am often compelled to go places with people outside my experience -- and really, what is the point of reading if you don't get out of your own careful life on occasion? I mean, if all novels reflected only the life that I do lead....I'd take up knitting or watching paint dry as hobbies instead.

I'm not going to name the book. I'm grown up enough to realize that others may not be so put off by that admittedly brief scene in light of a bigger story, and who knows? Since I was reading an ARC it's possible that by the time the book is actually in published form it might be toned down. (Although I doubt it -- there are rarely changes like that between an ARC and the finished product.)

This is the place where your Surly Bookseller says, NEXT, PLEASE.  


  1. Excellent post. I have done this occasionally, too. A book comes highly recommended and I just can't tolerate it any longer--one had so much promise and devolved into a biting and blood-sucking story. It was well written--just not for me. Ah well, the thing with books is, there is always another on the shelf or the Kindle begging to be read.

  2. Exactly. What frustrated me is that the author could have made his point about this child's brokenness equally as well by letting us draw inferences. Either the author doesn't trust the reader to fill in the blanks, or he thought being explicit would make us believe he (the writer) was brave or edgy.