Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Glimpse into a Different Perspective

I just finished reading Minding Ben by Victoria Brown.

I think it's a good thing that I read this book, but I don't know that I would have wanted to pay money for it. Intellectually, it was something interesting for me to read. Based on Brown's own experiences, the book details a girl from a Trinidadian island who comes to America at 16, is abandoned by her own family, and has to find her own way. If she goes back home, she won't ever be able to come back to America, and because America has more opportunities than her life back home would, she's willing to put up with A LOT of shit from the American trademark: the asshole.

Since I am not an illegal immigrant from a warm location where life can seem stagnant and never-changing, I could not really relate. That is why I think that reading this book was a good experience for me. It really opened my eyes a bit. Sometimes, people, at times, have falsely accused me of being a grammar Nazi. I'm totally not - mostly because my comprehension of grammar isn't good enough to reach that level of tyrrany - but I do like for a sentence to be well put together. So initially, a lot of the dialogue kind of irked me. In fact, if anyone who has grown up in America had written this, I would have called it pretentious and overbearing. But the writer didn't put her dialogue together in the manner that she did to make fun of anyone - it's based on her personal experiences. Once I thought about it that way, I realized I was being a bitch and that I deserved the eye-opening.

I felt like the book was realistic, but I also felt that it was slightly meandering. The plot did not seem tightly constructed. Now, those of you who have been reading my blogs for awhile or who know me in person already know I have ADD, so about halfway through the book, I was wishing I was done and anticipating the next novel on my TBR list (which kept changing, by the way, and culminated in Red Riding Hood).

One of my other problems was the strength I previously mentioned: I really didn't understand the protagonist Grace. I haven't lived through her life experiences, of course - but it wasn't just that. I have empathy. I really like to be able to put myself in the character's shoes. And Grace just didn't seem to add up correctly. Smart, adventurous, headstrong - I get that. But I only get that impression from what other characters say to her. I don't see it in her actions. In fact, Grace repeatedly perpetrates actions which give me the exact opposite impression of her. This character ambiguity, in particular, really irked me.

So, like I said earlier, I'm glad that I read the book. I feel like it broadened my horizons. Yet, I don't know that I recommend buying the book.

No comments: