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Almost…but not quite

Written on: September 29th, 2008 by: in Learning Journeys

Laura here: When you simply can’t get into what you thought
would be a good book, what do you do? Do you try again later: different mood,
different place or time? Do you give up and move on to the next book in your
stack? And if so how far into the book do you read before you decide to move
on? One chapter, two, or does it need to grab you within the first few pages?

Here’s why I ask. I traveled to Las Vegas recently and only took one wonderful book
which I finished while I was there: The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. On the
way home I picked up a book out of desperation: I needed something for the four
hour flight and the airport newsstand had slim pickings. I grabbed Alice Sebold’s
The Almost Moon along with a snack and figured I was all set. Settled on the plane I was shocked by the
first few pages and what the protagonist does and that kept me reading but I
stopped after a dozen pages and watched the in flight movie Flawless with Demi
Moore, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I’m not a huge Sebold fan, I worked in an independent
bookstore when The Lovely Bones was on the bestseller list and I joined a book
discussion group and read it. I thought it was dark and depressing but the book
group did help me to see some insights that I would have missed on my own.
However,   I
devoured Sebold’s memoir Lucky and as dark as it was I enjoyed it.

Back home and in my own bed I crack open The Almost Moon and am again aghast at
the protagonist’s behavior—I’m really not sure I like her. Am I supposed to?
Well I need to care enough about her to want to find out what happens to her,
and at this point even with the parallels between her mother and mine I can’t dredge
up any sympathy or empathy. What to do?

For now I’ve set it aside which pains me. If an author takes
the time to write it and a publisher takes the time to publish it the book must
have some redeeming qualities don’t you think? And as a writer I would want my
readers to stick with it and trust me to take them where they need to go. But
if the author has betrayed your trust as a reader what then? Inquiring minds
want to know what you’d do or have done in this situation. And if you’ve stuck
it out with Almost Moon…does it get
better? 😉