Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Not for me

Okay, just finished reading "Atonement" by Ian McEwan and this book is a prime example of why I don't read so-called literary books. Call me illiterate, call me a bourgeois peasant with bourgeois tastes, but I hit the end of this book and went "That's it???? That's the end?" Long, mired in detail, unsatisfying, and it makes me feel stupid because it's acclaimed and won awards and I don't get it. Why? What makes this book "great?" Clearly I must be blindly ignorant to miss greatness when I read it. But why should I fall all over myself praising something that didn't entertain me and didn't give me anything new to walk away with at the end and ponder into the night and tomorrow and the next night? That didn't give me even a moment that made me go "whoa" and sit back and watch my life change. I don't need all action and excitement and mystery, quite the contrary. But if you're going to give me something to think about, give me something to think about in a way that makes me think! There's nothing cooler than having a book change the way you see even a small part of this world, and this one failed to do that for me, even though I think it was meant to.

That aside, I did enjoy the first two parts of the book, particularly the scenes in part one from Emily's pov as she listens to the house around her. That was beautifully written and really worked for me and were my hands down favorite part. And I liked Mace and Nettle.


  1. Something tells me this book rubbed you the wrong way. :D

  2. Hee, you think? I just have an intense dislike of being manipulated. Now, I would forgive that if the book ending left me feeling satisfied, but it didn't. It left me frustrated. I can't really explain why without spoilers, so I'll leave it there.

    My niece, who loved the book, and I talked, and the difference between us was that she identified strongly with one of the characters (I never did find anyone to latch onto) and she bought into the ending without thinking twice. Where my writerly brain was going "but the characters wouldn't behave like this" she accepted it without question.

    So, once again, I think my enjoyment of a book was probably messed up by being a writer. :-D