I think I've said before that I'll read just about anything (and really, I mean anything). This year, however, I'm trying to challenge myself by reading more nonfiction and literary works, while still sprinkling in YA, women's fiction, even some juvenile books I've neglected to read (Because of Winn-Dixie anyone?).
I just finished up James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time so I thought I'd take a step back and move over to my YA shelf, to give myself a break from the literary. What had I picked up at the library the last time I went? I asked myself as I moved toward the bookshelf in the living room. My hand picked up The Detour, by S. A. Bodeen.
I'd never heard of that author before, but the dust jacket led me to believe that The Detour would read much like Misery, by Stephen King. My first thought? Stephen King already wrote that story and wrote it well. My second thought? Maybe there's something different inside the book of which I'm not aware. I plunged ahead.
I didn't get far, though, before I realized that I truly had somehow chosen a book that would challenge me in ways that literary and nonfiction would not. How? you ask. On page 1, the main character (who is an acclaimed author at only 17 years old) says:
Uh, yeah. That last line there, in italics, pretty much turns me off from this character right away. While I can appreciate that a 17-year-old best selling novelist might have somewhat of an attitude (even though she shouldn't), did I want to actually read about her? But because it was the first page, and only the first page, I kept going. Sadly, I was then smacked with this lovely prose:
Well, that main character can just go flip herself, you know? I don't want to be the next Stephenie Meyer; I want to write a better story than Ms. Meyer did. But I am over thirty, earnest and eager, and yes, I try to get to writing conferences when I'm able.
And that, my friends, is where I realized that I'm taking offense from a character. THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE, I chanted to myself. Get over it and move on.
Still, the book wound up being challenging because of that main character. I never came to like her and I didn't even feel sympathetic toward here. Furthermore, the plot was predictable. I don't review books and this is not a review, but I will say this: Misery was a much better read. Stick with the big guy if you have a hankering to read about a writer and a crazy fan.