Book Pre-Review

I have a book to review, but I'm going to take my time on that. In the meantime, I thought I'd mention that I have begun reading another book – one that is fairly well known. The narrator (one of them) is described as 'unreliable', a term I have only recently come into contact with, though the concept has been around for a while. (Think Fight Club, though it's much, much older than that.) It seems that by telling me that the narrator is unreliable, they have taken away most of the element of surprise, but I don't imagine that the people who publish books would really do that on the back cover. So, I have to think there's still more to come.

I will say, though, that as far as unreliability goes, this narrator fits the bill so far. She's a mess, spiralling out of control and I have no idea why her roommate puts up with her, or how much longer she's going to. I'm only a couple of chapters in, after all. She has spent the last two years sinking into a level of alcoholism that would generally take somebody many more years, or decades, to accomplish.

The author describes this perfectly. I don't even know the author's name; that's what a good job she's done. I am convinced that I'm reading the notes of a real person. (Clearly, they were dictated as she could not possibly put pen to paper or work a word processor.) As I read about poor life choices and struggling to remember what happened earlier this afternoon to cause the bump on her head and the bruises across her body I begin to think about my own life. I mean, I am truly wondering when I'm going to get my act together. I long, just a little, to call a local AA branch to talk to somebody about my problem. A problem which I do not have, by the way. I hardly drink. When filling out paperwork at a new doctor's office I struggle with the question of how often I drink. There is nothing between 'one drink a week' and 'never'. I fall into that gap, somewhere.

People this easily impressionable are perfect readers, as far as I can tell. I become a part of the story to a depth that is probably not entirely healthy. Also, it means that I have to read something apologetically happy every once in a while. The last time I had a true bout of depression (a few years ago) I had been reading a book of short stories by David Foster Wallace. That man can get to you. (He got to himself, it would seem.) After going through that, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was called for, or, something along those lines. When I don't have one of those firmly in my grasp I reach for Calvin & Hobbs. I'm writing a novel right now, and the story is not always pleasant. I doubt that I come out of that experience unscathed.

But, it's been a while. So, I am happily (or enjoying myself, anyway) reading a book that has had rave reviews and a few people whose negative opinion about it has only strengthened my desire to read it. I'll try to write about this novel as well, once I'm finished. In the meantime, I'm going to continue reading, I'll begin the other review I mentioned and I'm going to have a lie down to try to get my life together.

-- Earnie