Two books not worth reading
I am always compelled to read the latest and greatest. I particularly like young novelists. It isn’t so easy to follow up on the second book although at times it is apparent from the first book that the author has yet to write their big novel because the fundamentals are there in the writing. Other times, I wish I had just read the first book and called it a day. That would be the case in The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perlotta and would most certainly be the case in The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold.
Little Children was the first book I read by Tom Perlotta. It had all the makings of a movie which I usually don’t like but there was something about the writing. I could imagine the neighborhoods, the people, the homes. It was what I found the suburbs to be. An underlying nightmare of disillusion. What you see is not what you get.
The Abstinence Teacher was not real. The book takes place in a supposed liberal upper middle class neighborhood which is slowly being taken over by the Christian Right. The soccer coach, who is a reformed alcoholic, drug addict musician has taken to praying with the team. He is always incredibly confused about being a Christian Fundamentalist too. The parents barely react. The one mother who does happens to be the Sex Education teacher in the High School. The High Schools Administration has completely buckled to the Christian Rights beliefs on abstinence and sex. Realistic? God I hope not. I was hoping at least for some type of closure in the book but alas, there is absolutely none. The kids are disconnected and obvious "teenagers" who can’t communicate and won’t communicate with their parents and are all rebelling. The parents are in another planet. The only grounded person in the book is the Sex Ed teacher/mother who isn’t capable of making her mark anywhere because she is divorced and lonely and disconnected herself. What exactly is the book about? Don’t bother. The more I think about it, the more I hated it and will find it very hard to ever pick up another book by Perlotta again.
Lovely Bones which was Sebold’s first book was quite interesting. A young girl has already been murdered and we learn about the characters through her. We see the grief through her eyes that unfolds among her friends and family. Susie, the dead girl, is also helpful in finding the killer. At times the book veers off the path but as a whole the book was interesting. The Almost Moon is awful. I literally read about 125 pages and just called it quits. A woman kills her 88 year old mother in an act of frustration, anger, hate and resentment that has been building up for years. She was sick and mean and old. Then the story goes downhill after that. She doesn’t report that her mother is dead. Instead she hangs out with her, cleans her, injures her more, calls her ex-husband, leaves the house and screws her best friends son, just goes from bad to worse. Why? It is an awful book. A grim tale and the writing is sophomoric at best. A real shame.
Do yourself a favor, don’t bother reading either of these books. Reading books is such a treat why spoil it.