Thursday, August 09, 2012

Oh dear

Just finished a book.

It's got a lighthouse in it, which annoyed me because 'one day' I would like to write about a lighthouse. Or about a person who lives in one.

But then, but then...

It all goes deliciously wrong. The writing is overdone. So many exclamation marks, so much yelling and berating and shouting and pleading. Wooden characters. Much praying and goddy stuff. A child who is so unlikeable you want her to wander too close to a cliff and die. A father so wet that you want him to put a noose around his neck. Or throttle his demanding wife. Or have her take some poison, or kill herself or stab him. Or something. The writer clearly did lots of research and so has to resort to various clunky means to 'get it all in there.' It's melodramatic and overwrought and nothing exciting happens at all. It's insipid and flat and bland apart from the occasional passages that describe nature which are okay.

I had read negative reviews so I wasn't expecting much but I still wanted to read about the lighthouse. I'm glad it wasn't brilliant because that means there's still room for a good lighthouse book.




12 comments:

Alex said...

Something the matter, Melbs?

Melba said...

What'cha mean?

Melba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
look see said...

Lighthouses are rad. My favourite lighthouse story is the one in The Goodies. Bless 'em.

I have a feeling that I felt like you do about this book the way I felt about The Hunter by Julia Leigh. I studied it at uni and all I could think was how much research she'd done and tried to pack into it. My lecturer at the time was all, Yah she's not even from Tasmania. And I was all, No shit. But he freaking loved it. I think he really just wanted to get into her pants a bit (he was like that). I hated that fricking book. I haven't seen all the film, I started watching it on tv the other week but got bored and found something else to do. I think I read a book. A good book.

Melba said...

Is that you Shorts?

Oh those lecturers who just want to get into people's pants. They never change, do they?

little hat said...

Glad I read your critique cos I'm trying to write a piece of historical fiction at the moment and it's so tempting to put all the research in while risking forgetting what the "story' is actually about.
Liked All that I Am a lot. Loved Foals Bread.

Alex said...

What'cha mean?

Oh, for the first day or so, the body of the article didn't show up on my feed reader. It was just a heading of "Oh dear" with nothing else attached to it. I thought you might have been in some sort of trouble.

Are uni lecturers who want to get into people's pants really that common? I thought it was just a hollywood stereotype -- but then, I don't have much experience with unis.

Melba said...

Nah Alex all fine down this way. Uni lecturers - I've just *heard* about them, my pants were never gotten into.


And hello little hat, thanks for your comment. Research, yes, we do lots of it and work hard at it and find out many wonderful things. Makes it hard to only use 5 - 10% spread through a whole manuscript but I think that's the magic number, unless it's historical fiction.

Kettle said...

Melbs I'm curious that you read all the way through? Do you always finish books? Sounds like a frustrating experience (and not the good kind of enlarge-the-mind frustrating).

Melba said...

I don't always finish them Kettle. Often I will start and stop, put down, sometimes for years. But this one, while irritating and not well-written wasn't difficult to read (apart from those annoyances). I find hard-to-read books I will drop quickly; life is too short. But this one I read quickly if not happily. I turn it into a critiquing exercise and it's a learning experience too - of what not to do. It's important for me to be able to see what doesn't work, and why, as much as it is to see what does work, and how/why.

Melba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

It's important for me to be able to see what doesn't work, and why, as much as it is to see what does work, and how/why.

I think this is very, very wise.