Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Turned It Off.

I seem to have established a strange rule around the blog concerning books I don't like. If I muddle through with the whole read, I will criticize the book without mentioning the title or the author. However, if I don't make it all the way through I will tell all.

Well, folks, I turned off the audiobook of Karen Russell's Swamplandia five hours from the end. There were a number of faults in the writing. Too many adjectives, too many adverbs, and way too many similes. A premise that was promising (a young teenager facing a challenge on her own) that never was realized. Add in a historical lesson that is told, identically, twice (during the main character's story and that of her brother).

The thin ice for me as a reader started with a journey of discovery that never seemed to get anywhere. Call it a rescue mission gone wild. I can hear an editor saying "I love it, but it needs to be longer." It's longer all right, but that trip is a reader death march. Where it went on the rocks was when the young teen and her adult companion have to portage (carry) the skiff they've been traveling in for days. I presume they also have to take along their supplies and a box in which she has a pet baby alligator. Like I said, it's a long story.

Folks, do you know how much even a small boat weighs? Now imagine carrying it through a swamp. Not going well, is it? Now imagine the Absolute Last Thing you want to hear as a reader. Right— another historical lesson. I can't remember what the line was. Something like, "In her grandfather's time, the Agriculture Department—"


I could portage no farther.

No comments: