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Back in the Game

September 14, 2011
I'll Be Back
A case where following in Arnold’s footsteps might be beneficial.


And after a brief hiatus (if six months can be considered brief), I’m back and armed with a list of excuses explaining the hiatus that I won’t be boring you with. You’re welcome. You may also be pleased to note that, in an effort to avoid another hiatus, I have set an update schedule for this blog – Wednesdays and Sundays. So stay turned.

In my hiatus, I managed to finish Olive Kitteridge and begin Gone with the Wind (which will be my next Pulitzer endeavor). As I said before, Olive Kitteridge is a collection of 13 stories taking place in a small town in Maine which involve the character of Olive Kitteridge in some way. Some stories focus on her and others mention her in passing. And that was my biggest problem with the collection – Olive was quite a character and I found that I often wasn’t interested in reading entire stories that merely mentioned her once, maybe twice. It’s like how I feel about Dexter – great show, love Dexter, but I really don’t care about Angel’s love life. Or the Dexter voiceovers, for that matter. Showtime, please take note.


Angel, Who's That You're With?
Right, so Angel’s with a girl. Now, let’s get back to Dexter.

 

It’s not entirely a coincidence that I put the book down (and left it for six months) after reading a story about an ancillary character (see also, excuses for the hiatus).

Now, don’t get me wrong – I liked the book. I find that, given my increasingly shortening attention span, short stories are engaging without being a burden, plus they provide built in stopping points (bonus!). I also really liked how the collection of stories made up the larger story about Olive and her community – for the most part, you can’t read one without the others.

To me, the selling point of this book is Olive’s character and how we learn about her as each story is told. She’s incredibly real and nuanced, but my one complaint is that the character is both larger than life in terms of personality and physical size. Rest assured, I’m not talking Madame Maxime big.


Madame Maxime - More Than Big Boned
Yeah, Madame Maxime’s just “big-boned”.

 

Olive is just a tall, big-boned woman , which is fine, except that it was mentioned several times throughout the book. To me, the physical cue seemed to almost detract from Olive’s character, which was developed so well and didn’t need that crutch. A larger-than-life appearance was too obvious a cue for a larger-than-life personality.

Anyway, I’m not going to go all Reading Rainbow on you and tell you that it’s good, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Even though it’s true.

 

Work It, LeVar
Choosing this picture from the hundreds of other gems is a choice equivalent to Sophie’s.

 

And now onto Gone with the Wind. Just a note: I never saw the movie and have also managed to never find out how it ends. If you ruin it for me, I’ll channel LeVar from Roots.

Kunta?
My name is Toby

 

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