Thursday, July 29, 2010

#114 Middle Age: A Romance by Joyce Carol Oates

Normally I like her books, this one not so much. 

This is the synposis I pulled off of from Book Magazine:

"You leave home one afternoon, you never return as yourself," thinks a recently deceased man in the opening pages of Oates' immaculately plotted and emotionally resonant novel. The dead man is sculptor Adam Berendt (or is he really?), and the grieving community is the determinedly middle-aged Salthill-on-Hudson. The novel itself is both a good old-fashioned mystery and an inquiry into questions about identity and love, about who we become when one among us disappears. No one, it seems, ever really knew Adam, though that never stopped people from believing that he was their best friend or destined to be their lover. No one could name just why they loved him, but they did. No one is prepared for the marriages and dreams that crumble in his absence; for the tricks that memory plays; or for the revelations, both sudden and quiet, that ultimately lead Oates' cast toward more satisfying, honest, even dignified lives. There is light, a lot of it, at the end of this long book.

—Beth Kephart

I would totally disagree with the glowing recommendation above.  I thought all the characters were sniveling idiots.  Everyone in the book thinks they loved a man they knew absolutely nothing about.  Even the men who had one conversation with Adam thought they were best friends.  This Adam they were all "in love" with, didn't appear to be anything special to have everyone in love with him.  He sounded remote and obnoxious to me.  To me all the characters were delusional.

Besides the miserable characters, and I also hated the time jumps.  I liked that it fast forwarded the story, but it didn't flow well.  Personally I would have liked to have fast forwarded the book!!  This book took me a week to finish because I could not get into it.

I hate to give a book such a bad review, but honestly there wasn't anything redeemable about the book to me, nothing that made me pause and say maybe I am wrong.  So for that reason this is my first time I would grade the book as an F!

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