Chapter Ten and 21006 words. This is my first crime novel. It is a lot of fun to write. It exercises both wit and intelligence. It is not without challenges though. I decided to list them here. I am open to suggestions BTW.
I am worried that my characters are going to come across as talking heads. It is difficult to have serious conversations and exchanges of information while at the same time inserting observational clues into the narrative without giving too much away to the reader.
I have a character that is funny, but I don’t really want her to be cheesy or corndoggy, because she is also smart and deep. (She’s probably going to be anyway…that’s just what it is.) She’s a stereotypical character. I can’t help that. It’s who she is. She is inspired by real life people I know.
It is hard to write funny stuff without making fun of people, which is one thing I want to avoid, if possible. (At least not come across as deliberately hurtful.)
Keeping convoluted plot details straight in your head gets tricky.
Balancing action and idleness while keeping up a steady pace that quickly pushes the story forward is more complex than it sounds.
These are my five whines of the day. And it stormed off and on all day, so I didn’t get to swim (that’s my excuse).
This novel by Christopher Moore attempts to combine fantastical characters and outrageous situations with some very realistic observations of families coping with a dying loved one. I am not entirely certain that the author was completely successful in accomplishing this. There was some deeply sincere discussion of hospice and the tragedy of loss, but the book really jumped over the edge of being ridiculous.
When I first started to read it I felt as if I were being drawn into a standard Twilight Zone-like version of the “Death Merchant” and the main character, Charlie, a beta male, was just another grim reaper. As I read further, I was delightfully surprised as Christopher Moore’s characters came to life…even the Morrigan, evil creatures that live in the sewers of San Francisco, and the squirrel people, bazaar as they were.
I read this about a month ago and was waiting to see how my book club members felt about the book before I posted. I think I can safely say that you will love it or you will hate it. I personally loved it. Some of my book club members got into some really heavy philosophical discussion on theology and the metaphysical that I really did not feel that the book warranted. That a soul could occupy an inanimate object really seemed to bother some. I feel that the author, with his nutty characters like Lily, the goth girl, Minty Fresh, the pimp, the Emperor, and others, did not intend the book to be anything more than humorous entertainment with a touch of horror and emotion. In that regard he was more than successful.
My only disappointment was in the ending. I like to be surprised and I wasn’t. I sort of figured out what was likely to happen early in the book when the hellhounds were introduced. There was another aspect to the ending that I was sort of disappointed in, but I’ll let you figure that out.
I would give this book a five star rating, because I was one of the 50% who really liked it. I would certainly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys an easy read of contemporary fantasy.
I honestly did not realize that this was a non-fiction book when I read it. I was reading it for a Random Readers book club that I had joined, and it was not until another reader mentioned googling some of the characters in this non-fiction literary work that I knew my mistake. I laughed all through the book, sometimes side-splitting laughter, but was confused toward the end in that there did not seem to be a cohesive plot. Yet I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Ronson, a journalist in real life and within the character of the book, takes the reader through his design to write a book on psychopaths in the corporate world. THAT book never really gets written. He presents his interviews and acquaintances in hilarious anecdotes. His style is stream of consciousness, and it comes off more as a fiction read than a non-fiction read. That is not necessarily a bad thing, unless you are looking for a seriously objective scientific examination of Bob Hare’s Psychopath Checklist in this, “Journey through the madness industry,” as an inside look into criminal profiling. You won’t find that here.
What you will find is a light-hearted and humorous examination of the debate between Scientology and Psychiatry in anecdotal evidences. You will find yourself suddenly suspecting your neighbors, even your spouse…not to mention diagnosing your very own neuroses. You will bond with characters, like Tony, a young man who deliberately feigns insanity to stay out of prison, only to find himself locked up indefinitely in a psych ward. Some of the characters seem very nasty, even frightening, and others are the guy next door. There is some redundancy in paragraphs that are repeated and the author seems a bit scattered at times as he attempts to pull his examinations and evidences together. All in all, I would give him four stars and recommend the read.