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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I wrote a book review. It went awry.



I’ve been reading so many books lately that it’s messing with my brain. My mind comes up with all these words and I don’t know what to do with them. So this either means I have to start writing or I am becoming schizophrenic. Either/or. So for an outlet and maybe to stave off my eventual psychosis a bit longer, I have been writing a lot lately. Mostly book reviews and random dialogue I come up with when sorting out arguments in my head. You know. The usual.


This started as a book review and then ended up as…something else entirely. So first you have just the book review, in case that is all you are interested in and then you have the book review as it was originally written and everything that goes with it. So many more things.


31. Blaze by Richard Bachman/ Stephen King: Richard Bachman is Stephen King’s pen name from back in the day because he was under some  kind of yearly book cap and he wanted to see if his books would sell under a different/unknown name. Not surprisingly, the Bachman books only sold a small amount of copies and, when Bachman was outed as Stephen King, they sold way more copies which is really where it sucks to be a Stephen King fan (I would say it sucks to be Stephen King himself, but it doesn’t. That guy is doing just fine.).  It’s really just a sad story about a guy named Blaze who had little chance in life to not be a criminal. When he was a child he suffered head trauma after his father threw him down the stairs three times in succession, so he is a little dim.  From then on he goes from foster home to juvenile detention to prison, you get the gist. He turns con man and goes in for a long con and kidnaps a baby from a wealthy family and hilarity ensues, but not really. And I don’t know who Steve was fooling, but the book is obviously by him. Blaze has a touch of the shining and that is something that reeks of a Stephen King character (the shining is a feeling about something. Like you can find things easily, or you prepare yourself for something that is about to  happen though you have no way of knowing. Like you bring the clothes in from the line (because people still have clotheslines outside, I am sure) a few minutes before a surprise thunderstorm. That kind of thing.). But that is really the only supernatural element in this book and he barely touches on it.  It’s just a very good human story about a person you don’t normally think about, or try not to anyway.


*** Now the review in it’s long-winded entirety ***


31. Blaze by Richard Bachman/ Stephen King: Richard Bachman is Stephen King’s pen name from back in the day because he was under some  kind of yearly book cap and also he wanted to see if his books would sell under a different/unknown name. Not surprisingly, the Bachman books only sold a small amount of copies and, when Bachman was outed as Stephen King, they sold way more copies which is really where it sucks to be a Stephen King fan (I would say it sucks to be Stephen King himself, but it doesn’t. That guy is doing just fine.). 


I am usually dismissed as someone with shitty tastes in literature from anyone that wasn’t already a SK fan. And I resent that. If you aren’t a fan of the horror genre, I get that. But many of his books contain nothing of the supernatural. I feel like I am yelling at you (I am). People are very much against reading his work because of the name but really the man is a great writer. I was biased against him at first as well, and I turned out all right. But my path to Steve is a long story for another day today.


I grew up reading the normal girl things that a girl reads. Babysitter’s Club. Judy Blume. R.L. Stine. Goosebumps. Scary Stories to Read in the Dark. My favorite Book was Wait Till Helen Comes and it scared the shit out of me. I read it again not too long ago and it holds up. 


As a teenager, I really don’t think I read all that much which is odd because I wasn’t doing anything else. Seriously. I had very little to do in high school. I wasn’t in anything extracurricular, I didn’t have a job, I surely was not involved with any form of boyfriend and I didn’t even do drugs or drink then, so wtf did I do to fill my time? It’s ponderous, for sure.


For lack of anything else to read, I made the perilous journey to chick-lit, Jennifer Crusie/ Helen Fielding/ Jane Green, one in the same. I guess this was college. I don’t think I read too much in college because I was too busy being an idiot. Like everyone from age 18 – to about 27 I’d say. Just dumb shits. All of them. What I do remember reading in college besides the novelization of Romantic Comedies (bad ones), I was forced to read, which was ok with me.


I took two classes in college that I adored. Women’s literature and children’s literature.  In Children’s Lit, I read every children’s book there was. We had to read 25 books and write a few sentences about each one just to prove that we read  it. I think I read around 40. More Judy Blume. Shell Silverstein. The entire Junie B. Jones Collection up until that point. Also the classics like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Rotten Teeth. That class was so much fun. 


In Women’s Lit, I think we had to read six books written by, obviously, women. The ones I can remember were The Yellow Wallpaper, The Bluest Eye, The Women of Brewster Place (If I looked real hard I could probably find the syllabus from that class (type 2 hoarder)). I think that is when I got more into women writers while also trying to distance myself from the garbage that women were reading at the time that I did not enjoy.


This brought me to Cynthia Hiemel. Her books were mainly compiled of essays about her life, relationships, yada yada. The most memorable, If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why aren’t You Dead Yet? Pretty sure this was when I was in my “Men are so awful and weird” stage. But now I see that I chose the ones that were awful and weird. I had many a chance with men that would have made excellent additions to my admittedly short list of boyfriends from college, but I wasn’t interested in those! I was in my early 20s and still dumb as shit. Anyway, I was reading relatable stories from adult women so I kind of stuck with that genre for a while. Bitch, Bleachy Haired Honky Bitch, Cherry, The Broke Diaries, and a book that continues to be my favorite; Hell Hath No Fury. It’s a compilation of letters from some supremely pissed off women throughout history. As a women who has written many a pissed off letter, I can tell you that it is both accurate and fantastic.


Technically Women’s Literature could be Harry Potter. I read it in college, but I feel this doesn’t even need to be said as a genre that I enjoy or even a milestone in my history of books. I mean, everyone should read Harry Potter, you just should. It’s like The Diary of Anne Frank or To Kill a Mockingbird. You just stfu and read it. It is something you read. It breaks all literary boundaries and it is wonderful and all the good things that a book should be. And I swear to you, I do not want to hear your bullshit about you not wanting to read a children’s book and/or you have seen the movies so why bother. You get out of my face with that. Mainly, because you are wrong.  And I won’t waste my time with just a movie watcher, I won’t do it.


My love for books of essays written by women brought me to David Sedaris. If I had been born many years earlier as a gay man living all over the world, I would be David Sedaris. I just would. Also, Chuck Klosterman is known for his essays but he has two very good fiction books out there that I enjoyed. The Visible Man and Downtown Owl.

 
I think I was around 19 when I saw Fight Club for the first time. And I found out it was a book and I was all “Whaaaattt?? This movie spoke to me, somehow, in my untainted 19 years of life, I must learn more this man who speaks to my soul,” or some other emo-bullshit I probably wrote down at some point. I started reading Chuck Palahniuk, and things got weird. If you loved Fight Club, but it was a little too violent/”out there”/ strange for you, don’t go any further down the Chuck Palahniuk rabbit butthole. It only gets stranger from there and more disappointing. I haven’t read an entire book of his since Pygmy (which I did enjoy).  Everything else has been impossible for me to get through to the point where I get really pissed off. I heard there was a sequel to Rant, though. Is that right? I wouldn’t mind giving that a gander.

 
My love for Chuck Palahniuk brought me to zombie fiction (partly because if you can read anything from Chuck, you are obviously able to stomach the viler things in life), then to apocalyptic fiction (two of these I can recommend, Day by Day Armageddon and The Road) and then, begrudgingly, to Stephen King.

 
When I was a teenager, I read Dolores Claiborne. For some reason it was sitting on the bookshelf in the living room. My mom is a big reader, but usually only crime or romance novels so I am really confused on where this book came from and why it was in my house. I had seen the movie many times (excellent adaptation) so I figured I would give the book a try and I loved it. But then I got all boy crazy and feminist and shit and forgot about the book and my enjoyment of it.


How I picked Stephen up again was, I was forced into it. I had a good friend that was a SK fan and he was like, “You should really read this.” And I was all “Um, please. Stephen King is a hack! I can’t believe you read this shit.” And he was all, “Shut up, though. You will love this.” So after many days/months/years of foot dragging, I finally read Salem’s Lot. And to say that it was an amazing experience would be a gross understatement. From then on I wanted every Stephen King book in my head at once. And now I have become the annoying friend that is all “Ok, just shut up and read this. Thanks.” But you should listen to me, I know of what I speak.


Anyway. What was I saying? Oh yeah.


Blaze: It’s really just a sad story about a guy named Blaze who had little chance in life to not be a criminal. When he was a child he suffered head trauma after his father threw him down the stairs three times in succession, so he is a little dim.  From then on he goes from foster home to juvenile detention to prison, you get the gist. He turns con man and goes in for a long con and kidnaps a baby from a wealthy family and hilarity ensues, but not really. And I don’t know who Steve was fooling, but the book is obviously by him. Blaze has a touch of the shining and that is something that reeks of a Stephen King character (the shining is a feeling about something. Like you can find things easily, or you prepare yourself for something that is about to  happen though you have no way of knowing. Like you bring the clothes in from the line (because people still have clotheslines outside, I am sure) a few minutes before a surprise thunderstorm. That kind of thing.). But that is really the only supernatural element in this book and he barely touches on it.  It’s just a very good human story about a person you don’t normally think about, or try not to anyway.

 

2 comments:

D.P. said...

"I had a good friend that was a SK fan and he was like, “You should really read this.”"

:-D

Stacey Garrett said...

You were the first person I knew that liked Stephen King. And I thought that was really weird because I respected most of your book choices and I was like, "Well if Daniel likes it, I will give this garbage a try..."

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