Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crazy as a S***-House Rat

Why do I keep reading? Or actually, the bigger question is this: why would I put a book down?
Used to be that I would finish a book out of stubbornness. Apparently the older I get the less patience I have and I give the book about 50 pages to grab me. And if I’m grabbed, I stick with it.
This book I’m reading now started out KER-POW. So good, in fact, that I recapped the first chapter for my husband who (bless his heart) appeared interested. The “bad guy” is actually a woman who has lost touch with most reality and is a danger to anyone around her. She does manage to hold a job at Burger King, but that’s about all the normalcy there is. I was absolutely floored by this woman’s chapter, and wished I’d been the one who wrote it. “Holy cow!” I thought. “Hope the rest of the book is this good!”
Well, it wasn’t. The next chapter introduced a pregnant housewife whose husband is fooling around. I should feel sorry for her, right? Heck no, all I wanted to know was more about the crazy lady.
Every other chapter I got swept away by the insanity. Then the off chapters I’d try to stick with reading every word because I was afraid I’d miss something important, but it was just so stinking dull that I flipped like crazy until I got back to crazy.
Then about half way through the novel, I found I was reading only the crazy chapters and barely skimming the heroine’s scenes. Because, honestly, she wasn’t interesting and I didn’t identify with her in any way.
But I identified with the crazy lady? What does that say about me?
Action. At least in this case, that’s what it said. The heroine sat talking to her girlfriend at lunch. She sat talking to her husband at supper. She went to the hospital and had a baby and lay talking to her parents. BO-RING!
I’d had enough. I put it down with no intention of picking it back up. That was until read a book on schizophrenia and thought, “That’s what’s going on with the crazy lady!” Now I want to continue reading and see what happens, because with that particular mental disorder, anything is possible.
And actually, I did learn something from this book and this author. He writes a good villain. I want to write a character like that.
I don’t want to make this guy sound like a horrible writer, which is why I’m not including his name or the book title—maybe he had a reason for making the heroine so white-bread boring. Maybe balance is what he was going for, to show the disparity between two women of the same age from the same town. Balance is necessary, but this was just too much.
So I’m giving it one more chance. And if I have to hear one more whining moment of “poor me” from that boring lady, I think I’m going to just skip her chapters altogether and just read the crazy ones.
Maybe because I’m not completely over being stubborn.

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