Friday, June 21, 2019

DNF

It's a rare occurrence that I do not finish (DNF) a book.  But it happens.

Recently, I put down one of the most hyped books of the year.  And I have feelings about this.

Unless you're living under a rock, you've probably heard about the book: Daisy Jones and the Six.  It's exciting!  Sex!  Drugs!  Rock-n-Roll! Told in an oral history format!  The cover is great!


I was excited to pick this for my Book of the Month subscription a couple of months ago.  Often, I get my BOTM box and set the new book in a stack of other books and move on with my day.  But this one was different.

So many people were raving about it on podcasts and Reese Witherspoon had picked it for her book club.  I didn't want to wait, I opened the box and ran to my favorite chair to start reading.

As I was reading, a friend texted me and asked what I thought.  She hadn't been able to get into it and she wondered if she had missed something.  I kept reading.


I felt such a swell of pride, pulling the book out of my bag at various school events and in between errands.  Surely someone would see me with this very hip book and think, "There's a woman who knows what's cool.  She's up on the latest trends.  She looks like a real style icon."  


But I wasn't connecting with characters.  I rolled my eyes at their amazing attention to the details of fashion as they were recounting things that happened years ago while they were high.  They seemed flat and typical.  I like nuance in my characters, I like depth and by page 125 I just didn't care anymore.  

The oral history that is also being touted as an exciting new format just seemed lazy to me.  I felt like I was being spoon-fed the story.  Perhaps if there were excerpts written like a magazine interview I wouldn't mind that, but for an entire novel, it wasn't to my taste.  

As I closed the book and set it aside I kissed my dreams of literary influencer good-bye.  I didn't have my finger on the pulse of the modern literary scene after all.  But, I believe there is still hope for me.  

Since dnf-ing Daisy I've heard friends complain that the Instagram culture is negatively impacting their reading lives.  We're not picking books that genuinely appeal to us, we're picking them because someone told us to or they've popped up on our feed a bajillion times.  There's a reason some of the current best-sellers are riding high and it's not always because they are good stories, well told.  


And, don't get me wrong, I think Daisy Jones and the Six could have real appeal to a certain reader.  But I'm not that reader, and maybe, just maybe I need to vet my books (and all things in my life) not just based on popularity.  

listen to mom

What did you think about Daisy?  If you haven't read it yet, do you think you will?

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