Thursday, January 8, 2009

Love and Ambivalence

Have I mentioned I love Lisa Shearin? Do you know how cool (and seriously encouraging) it is to have an author you love find your blog and comment not once, but TWICE! Awesome.

And now for the ambivalence (which I think is a word and I think I'm spelling it right, but I am tired, so either or both could be a lie).

Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell
I'm not even sure how many stars to give this.
R-3 I guess

I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. I wanted to love it. But.... I didn't. I just didn't. It seemed like it would be gripping.... but it really wasn't. I mean really wasn't. Normally, I can't just leave a book half finished. I'm thinking about it, I'm picking it up even when I don't have time.... but this one didn't do any of that for me. I left off a little over half way through and didn't even think about it for like 12 hours or more. It was weird.
The style was kind of hard for me to get into. If a book isn't going to be clear about who's narrating, it had better make up for it right off the bat with some gripping content.
I was bothered by the treatment of Mormons. Now, I absolutely understand (from both reading and writing) that the things characters do and say do not necessarily have ANYTHING to do with the opinions of the author. But really, is it necessary to have the characters say horrible things about every Mormon character that pops up? And yeah, I have a certain bias and it bugs me more than it would if they were picking on, say, Catholics or Methodists or something. Though I'd like to think it still would have bugged me. I mean, did we learn nothing from Hitler's treatment of Jews? People are people.
I knew what happened way too early. And really I don't think that's just me. Okay, there were details I hadn't worked out, but when you can already see the big picture, and really the main character should be able to as well, it makes the things he's doing seem rather dumb.
And finally, and maybe this is just prejudice on my part, I don't like defense attorneys. This really played into all the stereotypes.

Hmm... that review doesn't make me sound ambivalent, does it? Makes it sound like I hated it. But I didn't. Parts of it were pretty interesting. And the main character did have his moments of shining integrity. I guess part of the problem is that I don't know where this was supposed to leave me. It wasn't a story about integrity triumphing; and yet it wasn't a story about integrity losing.... but it did kind of feel like it was sneering at the integrity.
And it left me feeling.... naive. And feeling that the characters or the author or someone was sneering at that.
But you know what? If integrity is naive, I'll stick with naive.

There are worse things to be known for.


  1. It's never wrong to abandon a book. Not every book is for every person. Some people are going to hate it and others will love it. I have one book that I have half read and I had to return it to the library and it's BUGGING me because I don't know if I want to recheck it out. But at the same time, I already invested so much time into it. Is it worth the couple of more hours so I don't have to think about it anymore?

  2. I honestly did finish this one, but I totally know what you mean.
    And I am glad I finished it... even if I can't figure out how I feel about it.