Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pulitzer Project Book Review - The Road - Cormac McCarthy

I promised this review a long time ago. Some of you may have forgotten (or never have known) about it, it's been so long.

Click here for the run-down on the Pulitzer Project.

Click here for the "rules" for participation on this blog (they basically boil down to, "criticize all you like, but be respectful," and here for the Spoiler Alert.

I've taken way too long to try to write this review.  And I've put off reading other Pulitzer books while waiting to post the review of this one.  I just kept putting it off.  And ignoring it.  And avoiding it.  And putting it off some more.  At first, I thought it was because I was trying to come up with something "new" or creative to say about the book.  Then I thought it was because I was busy.  But really, no one is *that* busy.  Then I thought it was because I needed to refresh my memory about the book to make sure I didn't leave out anything important in reviewing it.

None of those reasons was the real reason. In the end, I've concluded that I put off writing about it for so long because I didn't really like it.

While I was reading it, it drew me in.  I read it in just a couple of days on a vacation.  Despite the lack of much of a plot (just a father and son walking, walking, walking through a post-apocalyptic, completely destroyed world, seeking food, shelter, and safety from roving mobs of armed and dangerous cannabilistic thugs), I kept turning the pages, wanting to see "what comes next."

McCarthy writes well, and certainly raises (without really answering) some interesting questions about the meaning of existence and why it is that we keep on keeping on even when the deck is stacked against us and life just sucks. And also I kept thinking, heck, the book won a Pulitzer, so there must be *something* good about it that merited the prize.  (Then again, maybe the Pulitzer award givers enjoy this post-apocalyptic depressing crap...)

But when all was said and done, I heartily disliked the repetitive, bleak scenes and the disutopian outlook.  I felt drained and sad after reading it, and no more "enlightened" than before I started.  And so I'm done.  I'm moving on.  I'm not going to write any more about this book.  And it may be a while before I'm motivated to read anything else by McCarthy.  Too damn depressing.

If someone out there actually liked it, please tell me what redeeming qualities it has.  Maybe I'll learn to appreciate it.  But as it stands now, I'm writing off this Pulitzer winner as a dud.

And suddenly I feel a weight lifted from my shoulders.  I am now free to move on to (hopefully) better prize-winners in my quest to read them all.  To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (I hope, without offending anyone who thinks it is trite to compare my feelings about moving on from this depressingly awful book to Dr. King's feelings about ending racism -- I admit there is no comparison but I swear I just feel so exuberant!):

Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, I am free at last!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

PARTY!!! .... or not.....

Here is a copy of the invitation my daughter received from her friend at school (redacted to protect the guilty), about 10 days ago:

Here is the text of an email I received Friday afternoon (with identifying information removed, to protect the innocent):

I sincerely apologize for this note, but my daughter, as well as a few of her friends, took it upon themselves to creatively plan a party WITHOUT parental approval.

They got so far as to produce and hand out invitations to most, maybe all, of the 8th grade. Some of you may have received the invitation (I have yet to see it myself) inviting you or your children to our home this Sunday evening.

While we certainly enjoy hosting a party, unfortunately, it is not going to happen this time because of the manner in which it was conceived (the times, the date, the cover charge- LOL), AND, last but not least, the fact that I didn't hear about it myself until I was sent a text from another parent offering to help.

I guess there is something to laugh about and something to learn from this situation. Cheers to parenting, and I apologize again - but there is no party Sunday!

* * * * * 

First thought upon reading this email:  My daughter attends a school that is rated one of the best in the State, and yet her classmates apparently are not smart enough to wait until their parents are *out of town* to plan a party without parental approval?!?

(I am thinking Arizona is correctly ranked 41st in education nationally....)

Second thought:  "Judge not, LegalMist, lest ye be judged...."   I am *so very glad* it wasn't my kid planning the "unauthorized" party!