Friday, May 6, 2016

I'm Just Trying to Write Something

This is a story about writing my next review for Literary Quicksand. I'm reviewing a book I've been meaning to read for eons. It's called Between Shades of Gray, and it's by the daughter of a Lithuanian immigrant whose parents escaped to Germany and then to the United States before many of their friends and relatives were shipped off to labor camps during World War II.  The book is a big and important work about Stalin's hidden murders - the genocide of millions of Lithuanians, Estonians, and Latvians.

So, the issue is... I don't love the book.  I think I'm literally the only person not to love it.  The New York Times loves it.  The Horn Book loves it.  Even Harlan Coben, the author of several sub-par (in my own opinion, of course) mysteries, loves it.

My lack of love for the novel is making me feel bad about myself and question my legitimacy as a reader.  Like, maybe I just don't like historical fiction?  And isn't that kind of indicative of my lack of appreciation for everything that's come before?  And, is it shallow of me to want the writing to be more lyrical?  More surprising?  But who needs beautiful language in a book about mass murder?  What kind of monster am I, anyway?!

These are the crises I'm butting up against as I begin to write my review.  But, I want to assure you that I'll embrace the discomfort and write my review honestly and with a commitment to authenticity.  That's just the kind of reviewer I am, after all, and you can count on me.


mm said...

I love historical fiction, and I gave it a 3/5 stars.

LH said...

I really loved this book.

Having said that, everyone loves the book that I'm supposed to be reading for book club this month and I can't get into it.

Every book has its day in court I suppose.

Martha Pettee said...

I love the fact that you embraced your lack of the love for the book. I too love historical fiction. Haven't read this book and believe I will pass. But I did love the One Hundred Years Trilogy. I have a feeling that those books will not be in your must read column. I still love you!

And LH -- I do think ALMOST every book has it's reader. Perhaps every book has it's reader, if the reader can find it!

Martha Pettee said...

I didn't mean "lack of THE love" but I kind of like that turn of phrase.