I slammed out of the house on Saturday morning. I didn’t really know why I was so angry. Aside from the usual irritations of living with my family – slob uncle, living in one room with clutter everywhere, the endless waiting to get the hell out – there was realy nothing that should have been making me so mad. It was exactly what Holly Golightly called “the mean reds.”
The rain and low, claustrophobic clouds did not help my mood. I defiantly refused to carry a brolly.
So as I’m speeding away from the neighbourhood on the bus, I get to thinking “Why am I so pissed off?” And it came to me – it’s a direct effect of a bad, stupid book. Characters that are annoying, a story going nowhere, and a writer whose paragraphing habits, once noticed, are working my nerves.
Why not just say what you have to say in one paragraph?
Are you trying to stretch out this book?
I think that is the idea.
And so forth.
I recognize the effect that Watermelon by Marian Keyes is having on me now, because I remember how reading The Devil Wears Prada a long way back made me tense and irritable too. I went around for a week after reading it with a complex of insecurity and hostility. The insecurity came from reading designer names on every other page and endless descriptions of what people were wearing. The hostility came from the meanness of the Anna Wintour character and the utter stupidity of the whatever-her-name-was assistant main character. By the end of the book, I really hated them all and all their bloody clothes.
Same with Watermelon, which concerns the tedious travails of main character Claire. The hook is her husband leaving her just after she gives birth to their baby. She flees London for the bosom of her wacky Irish family. Oh, they’re so wacky. The meat of the plot concerns Claire’s recovery from the blow of abandonment and her tentative romance with some studmuffin named Adam. I really hated everyone in this book. Claire is kind of a gormless character – we don’t really get a get a handle on her as the book “develops”. Her lover Adam is oddly hostile for fling material. And when the husband, an accountant named James, wanders back into the plotline, he is so indifferent and uninteresting that I couldn’t help by wonder why he was there. Romantic tension? Hardly.
I think this book was written to antagonize me. Personally.
I finished it, though – and I want my damned $12.99 back. But alas, it would probably fetch 50 cents at a thrift shop.
But, I don’t want to write off Ms. Keyes completely – Rachel’s Holiday was quite good (and is about the same family!), and so was what I read of Sushi For Beginners. It’s chick lit for sure, but Irish so characters have names like Clodagh and Fintan. So that’s okay.