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Tedious testimony to triteness
on 8 September 2009
My opinion relates only to the first half of this book because I'm not reading any more. It's like a punishment someone set out for me before bed each day. If the second half of this book is going to suddenly become consequential, insightful and cleverly written, don't tell me about it because I simply can't bear to pick it up again.
First of all, I am underwhelmed by the alleged enormity of the central act in this book: Teenagers having videotaped sex. I understand that Shreve is in her sixties now but we can't use her age as an excuse for her outraged sensibility because she grew up in the 1960's and is writing in the 21st century. How can she justify these exaggerated postures of shock and horror over an act which at worst shows poor judgement on the part of teenagers? Like that's never happened before.
Secondly,the narrative mode irritates on many levels. Shreve chooses to tell us the story from the points of view of about twenty different characters(I've read ten but I'm sure she's not going to stop there). Problem is, that each of these narrative voices are all essentially the same. The differences are superficial and patronising;if it's a young narrator, they speak in short, jerky sentences and use "like" to punctuate sentences. Characters from the older generation are allowed longer, less idiomatic sentences. Everyone has the same voice, which is Anita Shreve's reflective, regretful,it's-not-my-fault voice. If it wasn't for the character's name heading the chapter you'd have no idea who was talking,only which generation they belonged to.
That's, like, all I'm saying.