I thought I was falling in love. With a book.
It’s been awhile since a book has grabbed me right from the first page, but this book had it all. The characters were gray, not Fifty Shades, but hundreds of shades. And for any person, fictional or flesh, lots of grays are the most interesting colors. The plot was amazing. Unpredictable in its turmoil. So many places it could go. I was so excited to be on the ride. I was tempted to pull an all-nighter and read it from cover to cover, but I had to get up early the next day. I dreamed about the book that night (seriously); I’ve never dreamed about books I’m writing much less ones I’m reading.
The next day I grabbed it at the first opportunity. When the sledgehammer hit, I shook my head, dazed. Maybe I was mistaken and the author hadn’t meant to use the plot as a weapon. The second hit by the sledgehammer crushed me. The beautiful shades of gray that had painted such a nuanced picture earlier were replaced with black and white. And the flesh and blood characters were replaced with cardboard stereotypes. And when the characters perched on their soapboxes, they forgot everything that had made them real. Nothing on the cover or dust jacket had prepared me for this.
The damn book was nothing more than a political agenda in disguise.
And for a contemporary best-selling novelist to use her status so insidiously is nothing more than a betrayal of her talent and of the readers that expect more from her. The saddest part is that instead of wasting her talent and throwing the original plot under the bus in exchange for a pamphlet of propaganda, the author could have made her point more forcefully by painting it into a beautiful thought provoking novel.
That’s not to say that what she preaches is wrong, or that she shouldn’t be allowed to write her opinions. But her method is like a mother giving a child a dish of ice cream and hiding the liver and onions in it, thinking she’ll fool the child into eating something healthy. The child doesn’t eat it, and hates liver and onions more than ever. And now she doesn’t trust her mother either.
How could the author not see that she could have remained true to the characters and original plot and still made her point? In the end, she was preaching to the choir. The people she was attempting to convert were just offended. Nothing changed.
A sledgehammer is not an effective evangelization tool, no matter what you’re preaching, be it your political, religious or moral ideals.
Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.
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