Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Disappointment

A few weeks ago, I finished reading The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French. With a title like that, I expect it's going to pique the interest of a lot of readers. It's also got an arresting retro cover:

In a nutshell, TROTRL is about an elderly woman who has suffered health issues as well as the death of her daughter because of radioactive cocktails she was given in the fifties. These cocktails were part of an unofficial study, and the women who drank them (all in the lower economic stratus) were told that it was a "vitamin cocktail." Bitter and alone, this particular woman (named Marylou) has decided that she needs to get revenge on the doctor who was in charge of the study. So she buys a house in Tallahassee, begins essentially stalking the doctor and his family, and contemplates the best way to kill him. Sounds like a great, fast, zany read, right?


This novel has all the potential to be crazy & amazing, but instead, wallows in the mundane. Some crazy shit happens, but the manner in which it is related makes it seem almost boring & nondescript, while more time & care is spent on the small and everyday. The marketing, the title, the synopsis all indicate something wacky, along the lines of a Christopher Moore novel or that novel I adore, Fated.

It's not a bad book. It looks through the eyes of a lot of different characters, really giving both sides of the story, and all-in-all, the book and the author have a good heart. It wasn't, however, what I was expecting, and what I was expecting was more interesting than what I read.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hopefully the Movie's Better

The commercials for the Red Riding Hood movie coming out soon intrigued me. I mean, sure, chances are it's as horrible as the Twilight movies. But the possibility that it isn't is exciting. & as you know (or are about to find out), a YA novel was recently released as a "companion" to the movie. So you know I bought it. Here's the cover (which I adore):

I was really hoping to like this book. I like fairy tales. I like new twists on fairy tales.

I also, however, like good writing. This book didn't have that particular characteristic.

I liked the ideas & I could have liked the characters, if they had been fleshed out a bit more. The story is mostly told from Valerie's point of view, in a meandering fashion that makes her seem extremely indecisive and somewhat flaky.

Basically, the writing is very simple. That's not always a bad thing. A lot of great writers write in simple sentences. It's concise, and often beautiful in it's lack of unnecessary complication. So it's not really the simplicity that bothers me - it's that the simplicity is paired with a lack of sophistication. There's no grace to the story. One sentence wobbles along after another, like a toddler learning to walk. It is clumsy and sometimes completely misses the mark and falls on its' butt.

There were two sentences that I liked:

"Valerie was not who she had been. She felt parts of herself softly crumbling off, like a cliff falling into the sea."

That was it. The others sentences revealed too little or revealed too much or just didn't strike my intellect in an appealing way.

Have you read Red Riding Hood? What was your opinion?