Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Post That Includes a Book Review

Ah, Sunday...The weekend has been a busy one. Friday night I got dinner and a movie with the hubby, I think to make up for the "Shit Bitch You Is Fine" Valentine's card he picked out. I thought dinner was good but later decided they'd poisoned me but, the movie was fun. We saw - my choice - A Good Day to Die Harder and I'll work a review for that one into another post. I've also spent some time this weekend compiling a list of book agents. That is the next step for "The Myth Maker" I got it in my head that I wanted to add a few more scenes I can't back down from that so I've been working on some tweaking first. I still have a deadline of March 5th, so we'll see how I do on being on time. There will be some blogs about that adventure coming soon. But first, Book Club Review!

Last week the lovely group of ladies that make up our book club got together to discuss "The Timekeeper" by Mitch Albom. I have to say it was a quick read and admit that I finished it on my lunch hour the day of our meeting, but I did finish the whole thing. The story is about the first tracker of time, Dor, and the punishment he's given for paying attention to time. Or at least that's how I took it. I have to say that, as the main character, I think Dor felt the least developed for me. Some ladies found the conflict that led to his punishment when they read and were able to take away that he had spent too much time trying to count time and not enough time enjoying what he had, but I never got that impression. I definitely read him as being a little OCD about finding new ways to count time and make measurements, but I also got that he loved his wife and children. I guess I was supposed to see them as neglected but I didn't. Because of that, his 6,000 year punishment seemed a little harsh to me.

As we read along with Dor making cave drawings during his punishment, we also get to know Victor and Sarah as well as Victor's wife, Grace and Sarah's mom who has a name I can't remember. It is with the introduction of these supporting characters that the problems in the story telling started to develop for me. Dor, as Father Time, was supposed to be my leading man but he was only being shown in choppy bits of sadness. I hadn't really gotten to know him yet before the others came in. In between Dor's choppy bits I was given equally choppy introductions to mean old man Victor, and typically pathetic and self loathing teenager, Sarah. Because we are fed their stories in such small amounts, all together on the same page, I never felt like enough was being offered for me as the reader to make any connection to the supporting cast either. That would be my biggest complaint of this book.

I never felt any type of concern for Victor who we know from the start of his story is dying from cancer. He's lived into his 80's and takes pride in his ruthlessness and incredible wealth. At no point does Albom give you any reason to care about Victor's survival, not even in his relationship with his younger wife who will soon be left alone. When you throw in the true-life sci-fi element of what his plans are to cheat time, you feel even less concerned for him. Sarah, on the other hand, is a character you want to scream at. Maybe simply because she is 17, and almost any of us can relate to the self-doubt that consumes her as she struggles to gain the attention of the popular boy who is just the player all the readers recognize him as. I read along with Sarah's anguish wanting to just shake her by the shoulders and tell her life is not high school but you don't get a chance because it moves so fast back and forth from her story.

I can't and won't say the book was a bad book - I can say that I think it could have been better and others who had read different stories by Mr. Albom agreed. I really think the message of appreciating the time we have (or are given, if that's the way your thinking goes...) could have been presented in at deeper, more personal level if we could have focused more on the plight of one of the characters in the story rather spread four people in four paragraphs over one page. I was intrigued by the idea of learning the story of Father Time, of getting to know him as a character, but in the end I feel his story fell a bit short. I think the emotional impact of the message would have hit harder had Dor been able to focus his energy on getting to know and save one character, and I would have picked Sarah's story if I had to pick just one supporting role. All in all, I would give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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