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It seems it's not only adult fiction I'm having trouble with lately. "Trouble" meaning I can't get through it.

Points of fact: Do I care about every teensy event that happened to you up until the starting point of the story? Hey, what IS the "starting point" of the story, anyway? Was it your 10 page prologue? Your first of 273 flashbacks? What's with all the pages and pages of italics? I'm old--that means eyestrain, dude! Why do I have to know the color (and the pattern, and the brand, and texture of the fabric, and the dent left on one cushion by your great-aunt's heavily-girdled butt?) of your stupid couch? Why should I care about your three-page conversation about eggplant recipes with a character who never shows up in the story again? Not only that--how many POVs are you using? Seven? Get out! Are we in the past now? The present? What about those 45 pages without a single line of dialogue? The dialogue that exists is sometimes laughable. Seriously, lady, no one talks like that. And your word choices! Did you memorize a thesaurus? Why do I, a relatively well-read, fairly well-educated adult with an extensive vocabulary need a fricking dictionary to read a work of fiction? Also--FYI--kids can be forgiven for making bad choices. Your adult characters, however, are absolute idiots. How can I empathize with your characters when I'm either A. LMAO or B. cheering on the bad guys? ("Kill him! He's an idiot!")

(Look at the paragraph you just read. See what I mean? No one should be allowed to write a paragraph that long. Imagine it all in italics.)

Anyhoo. Lately, I seem to be having trouble with non-fiction as well. I'm on a memoir kick (or at least I was) and I swear I've never seen a whinier bunch of people, not even at my job. If they're not whining, or blaming everyone else, or throwing their relatives under the bus (seriously, I hope these relatives aren't alive to read this stuff), then they're hammering out pages of pages of introspection, speculation, or incomprehensible psychobabble.

And they're boring me. No doubt there are interesting aspects to their lives that might make a great short story or a magazine article. Or--wait! What about a BLOG? Why don't they blog this crap? Because, frankly, their life is simply not fascinating enough to warrant an entire book.

I used to looove memoirs. What the heck happened? Did I just grab a bad bunch of them over the past few months? Or, because it's so much "easier" to write these days (now that you don't need a quill), more and more folks are churning them out? I read a memoir by an actor I've loved my whole life and it was




You know what I'd like to read? A memoir written like a YA novel.

So maybe that's it: I'm too used to YA. Because if something--whether it's fiction, memoir, whatever--doesn't catch my interest from the very first page (or at least the first chapter) then I can't be bothered with it.

I want quick reads. I want compelling characters right from the get-go. I want characters with brains who talk--yes, talk, as in actual dialogue--like real people. An easy-on-the-old-eyeballs font wouldn't hurt, either. I want to be able to follow a story and not have to flip back and forth because it's perfectly obvious I missed important...probably when I skimmed through that 3-page eggplant discussion. And I sure don't want to have to sit there with a dictionary.

Yes, it's true: YA HAS RUINED ME!

Funny how I'm actually pretty proud of that. :)

Can someone please, please, pleeease recommend a great memoir??



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
Um, yeah, ditto. YA has ruined me. Except for some Alex Award winners and a small selection of other stuff. I, too, feel proud. Ha!

Man, a good memoir? I really liked THE OTHER WES MOORE....maybe bc it read like YA.... :)
Sep. 7th, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
If it reads like YA, I'm checking it out!
Sep. 7th, 2012 04:56 am (UTC)
No, you're not the only one. I've never cared much for adult fiction either. One that I read this year had a MC who was an ungrateful brat. I thought she might change by the end of the book, but no. Still an ungrateful brat.

Sep. 7th, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
YA characters do seem to "develop" more than adult characters. Thank goodness!
Sep. 7th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC)
YA has ruined me, too. While I still enjoy some adult books, it's the YA genre I always find myself returning to and being pleased by!

Your italics rant made me laugh...largely because I could relate to it. I once read a book that, while otherwise amazing, was 2/3s italic, I think. Talk about a head-spin....
Sep. 7th, 2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
Sep. 8th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed This Time Together by Carol Burnett- pretty much a bunch of short vignettes about Carol's life. I also really liked Kathy Griffin's autobiography.
Sep. 8th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
I'm listening to "This Time Together" on tape and I LOVE this one! (it doesn't hurt that Carol is doing the actually reading). I'll check out Kathy Griffin--she's hysterical.
Sep. 9th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
I listened to it on tape too (well, CD) and read a few stories from the book itself because the CDs skipped every so often and I'd have to go to the next track.

Kathy's memoir has some serious bits, but it still has her trademark humor. I wanted to re-read it but my library got rid of it at some point between when it came out (and when I first checked it out) and now. It's not in their catalog anymore. That made me sad.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


Jeannine Garsee

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