Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Annoyed Reader

I'm reading a highly acclaimed first novel by a writer who has gone on to be quite successful and keeps on getting critical acclaim. I've even read a later work by this person and enjoyed it. And while the story of this book isn't bad and is entertaining enough, I'm frustrated by how stooopid the main character is, or, by an alternate interpretation, just how stoooopid the author thinks the readers are.

Maybe the back cover copy set up the "mystery" thread of the story more than the author intended for it to be, so my reading was prejudiced to be looking for something that the author didn't want me to be hunting for at first. Or maybe I've read too many novels with this type of twist and can spot the signs damn quickly. Or maybe I'm up on my Stupid Writer Tricks and know when an author is Up To Something and can hunt around to figure out what. Or maybe I'm just on the same wavelength as this author and my reading can spot all of her foreshadowing elements and clues and knows exactly why they're there.

But the more I read, the more I keep thinking that there's gotta be something I'm missing, that while I know the "whodunnit," the real twist is in the "howdunnit" or the "whydunnit" or the "whythefrackdoesn'tsomeoneundunit." Because if I get to the end of the book and the big reveal is nothing more than the knowledge that was painfully obvious to me two chapters into the book, then I'm going to be damn pissed and wonder what the hell all those critics were smoking.

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