Tuesday, June 10, 2008

49. "Beautiful Children" - Charles Bock

I'm all for second chances, so here we roll...

Perhaps I would have enjoyed this book more if:

1. I recognized my son in the behavior of the runaway kid character;

2. My son hadn't threatened to run away when we took away TV privileges (yes, I know);

3. Being a mom, I constantly worry about behavior issues and future lives and kidnappings and runaways and drug use and pornography and-and-and.

All of the beautiful children in this book are stereotypical and based on pop culture... the author tells us this in a later chapter. I missed finding out the ends of their stories, though. After 400+ pages, I felt that I was owed that.

However, the wonderful, seedy backdrop of Las Vegas is described and depicted in brilliant shapes and colors and tones, which is what drew me in after I had called it a day.

I don't doubt the author's intent to write a novel that was of post-post-modern style. I just don't think it worked as well as he wanted. The family's story is heart-breaking and vivid, while the comic book author was useless. The Washington Times critic said that this book needs to be read twice to be understood. Twice? Seriously? The first time was painful enough, thanks.

2.0 out of 5.0 Vegas Bombs.


amcorrea said...

That basically sums it up for me as well (minus the fact that I am not yet a mother). It's a decent novel--but decent novels should not be hyped to the nth degree as the Next Big Thing. I read it with an open mind, having seen Bock on Titlepage tv. He seems like a great guy. Parts of it were really good. But... Yeah.

Pete said...

A book that has to be read twice to be understood isn't much of a book at all.

Anonymous said...

I always finish books but this was the first work of fiction in years that I just found to be unreadable. I kept drifting and needing to read and re-read because of the experimental style (little plot and lots of tangets).

I agree with your review that needing to read a 400+ page book twice doesn't really seem reasonable.

Wow - 150 books a year, that's impressive :)