Thursday, October 15, 2009

Unfinished Books

So, it looks like The Invisible Man is doing it's best to defeat me again. I started reading it again, but I hit the fourth chapter and haven't picked it up since. It's just not very good. I don't think it's well written, and the story isn't interesting. And there was the bit in the second chapter about the man raping his daughter while his wife was asleep next to them and getting her pregnant. This is something I really don't understand about a lot of American black literature. It seems like when the author is trying to make a social statement about blacks and racism in our culture, they write crap like this. How is creating characters like this one conducive to ending racism? It just makes them look bad. I know it's supposed to symbolize how whites have treated them or something, but it just doesn't make sense and isn't effective. It makes me hesitant to read anything that is promoting in the same fashion as this or Toni Morrison's works. They're awful. Why not write something like Their Eyes Were Watching God? That's one of my favorite books, and is wonderfully effective at both showing the injustices done against blacks and yet portraying them in a positive light and making you care about the characters. Isn't that more effective? I care about Janie. I want her to have a good, happy life. And I identify with her. Isn't that a better way to tell your story and try to end racism through your works? Once someone connects to your characters and identifies with them, that changes them. Hurston is amazing at doing that. Ellison and Morrison on the other hand just create characters that disgust me. I don't identify with them at all and would want to avoid them. How is that helping anyone?
I think that tells me that I should just stick The Invisible Man back on the shelf. Besides, I've experienced new-found freedom in my new policy of not having to finish books just because I start them. I've done this with two other books recently and it's wonderful that I'm not forcing myself to sludge through the drivel that is some of these books. The two I abandoned were Adverbs by Daniel Handler and The King James Conspiracy by Philip DePoy. Handler wrote A Series of Unfortunate Events, and I was so excited to learn he writes adult books too. Until I started Adverbs anyway. It was TERRIBLE. It made no sense whatsoever, featured two sexually confused men in the first 50 pages, and was just a bunch of ramblings and random words thrown together. Awful. The DePoy book was a Da Vinci Code knock-off that failed miserably. He tries to make up for a terrible story by including lots of gore to distract you from the fact the plot makes no sense. That was disappointing because there was a lot of controversy around the writing of the King James version of the Bible and I thought it could make a great story. Perhaps in the hands of a better author it would.

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