Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Eighth Day of Blogging...for WOK anyway




It sounds like some screwed up Christmas Carol, doesn't it?  On the 8th day of blogging, my blogger gave to meeeee...yet more random musings from her mind...

Yes, yes, I know.  It's too soon to start referencing Christmas.  Or late.  But I guess I have Christmas on the brain. 

I blame the younger niece.  She made me watch Christmas cartoons the other night.  And, by made, I mean that - after sitting through the cheesy must-have-been-made-for-TV kids' movie about a ghost cat and after vetoing several other obviously-not-meant-for-children horror movies, I was primed and ready to allow her to pick out anything if it was remotely age-appropriate and shorter than a movie.  And, how do you object to Christmas cartoons?  They are obviously kid-friendly, short, and who wants to be grinch enough to veto a kid's fifth attempt at a pick on the grounds of "But it's...May?"   

She is a genius and I have little doubt she will one day rule the world, pulling strings from behind her cupcake-print curtains.

***

All that aside, I have been sitting here struggling for some blogger bit of interest.  But my brain is flittering, random thoughts flickering to life only to be shoved aside by bolder and brighter ideas which are then extinguished by the necessity of the day. 

But today, we talk about Unholy Hunger at WOK.  So there's something.

***

I did finish Unholy Hunger by Heather James.  In the end, I thought the voice of the piece was good and the story entertaining.  If I'm honest, I had some struggles with the character motivations, specifically our protagonist.  I found some of her thought processes implausible given her background and the type of person we are told she is in the beginning.  Yes, I know, the act which incites her on this vengeance-quest is horrific and life-altering but I'm not sure I buy her seeming ignorance of how the law works.  She's a lawyer but she pretends absolutely no understanding of the system?  I am not a lawyer, civil or criminal, and I know the rudimentary basics.  And, whether one agrees or disagrees with that system, this character displays an ignorance that presses the bounds of plausibility.

She is consumed by anger at the cops' failure to act, but fails to acknowledge any understanding of why they can't act and why they can't act immediately.  I think we needed a slower build here with some acknowledgement from the protagonist as to the system.  I can understand anger.  Of course there's anger.  In fact, the author had a wonderful opportunity here to explore that anger from the perspective of someone who would have or should have a greater understanding of the system, watching as the system which she knows is flawed fails her?  And, had we been allowed to watch that anger fester and grow under the combined onslaught of the death, the glacial speed of the investigation and the faults of the system instead of the anger being a built-in and static setting for this character from day one, I think I could have sunk into the story more and I think it could have been a better story. 

Still, it was entertaining.  And I appreciated several of the plot twists.  Hopefully, if you haven't read the book, you're not reading this because this may very well spoil you.  But I appreciated the surprise as to the responsible party.  I honestly didn't guess.  And I'm a pretty good guesser.  I really liked the touch of supernatural/spirituality elements.  I'm a fantasy fan.  I liked its subtle place in this book, a bit of the mystical for those of us who like a healthy spoonful of magic with our Wheaties.  I thought the voice was strong.  I may have had a problem with the motivations and some of the logic processes attributed to the Main Character, but she certainly had her own voice.  It was strong, consistent throughout, etc.

And, bottom line, I was entertained.  I think most of us, as writers, much as we might like to talk about the Great American novel or the art of what we do...we want to entertain.  And I thought the book accomplished that.


6 comments:

  1. As for Christmas shows are you familiar with "A Wish for Wings that Work". It's my favorite animated Christmas show with a better than average moral. And some just plain kookiness thrown in.

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    1. No, hadn't heard of that one...now that I'm in a premature Christmas mood, may have to look it up, recruit one of the kid-types to watch with me. :-)

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  2. Christmas is not my favorite season of the year. Christmas movies and cutsy-pooh Christmas cartoons put me over the edge. Not a total Grinch, I quietly abstain. Don't even get me started on Christmas promotions and decorations before Labor Day. The best part of Christmas is sharing the joy and excitement of Christmas morning with my grandchildren.

    I agree with your critique of Unholy Hunger; and, I was entertained. The disregard for the law, particularly by a lawyer, was troubling. I found the theology disingenuous. I think the novel would be better with more of the grittiness of, say, Dennis Lehane.

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    1. Oh, avoid my house at Christmas-time, friend! Ooey-gooey Christmas movie goodness abounds! Lol!

      And now you have me curious about Dennis Lehane...hmmm.

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  3. The other day I noticed they were showing "Elf" and "The Santa Clause". I didn't watch, but part of me just wanted that December icy feeling to the air, instead of the heat wave of a few weeks ago.

    I've read about half of Heather's book. I'm enjoying the read, although as I said at the meeting it's also such a hard book to read. I will finish it soon (promise to myself).

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    1. I always want the December icy feeling. If I could trade in Bakersfield Summer for more winter...I would.

      Regarding the book, I think I have a pretty high tolerance on the subject matter issue. At least it doesn't go into graphic detail. That's where some books lose me.

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