Sunday, March 21, 2010

Have been reading blogs again...

I have been reading blogs and updating my blog list for this blog. I noticed that I didn't have a blog list :-D

Anyway, I found Cynical-C's "Can't Please Everyone", one star reviews from I find it really funny when people show with their review that they haven't understood a thing, about why a book was written, what the author tried to say etc.
For example, Anne Frank's Diary is being criticized because it is just that - a 14 years old girl's diary. It is not fictional, it's not great literature, it's not historical information about holocaust, it is a teen-aged girl's diary. MY diary wouldn't be interesting reading. When I was 14, it would have been a lot about me finding this boy and that boy cute, me being sad about being bullied, me feeling poor because we didn't have much, and books. Really interesting... NOT!
Or about Gone With The Wind... That Scarlet is so horrible and that it's so unrealistic that the slaves didn't seem to be too unhappy about being slaves... Hello! Scarlet WAS horrible! That's the thing! She was a rotten, egocentric, spoiled brat, with horrible temper and no interest to anything but herself and Tara. That's why "Scarlett" is a bad book. "I didn't like Scarlett, so I made her softer... and a red-head too, because that fits the stereotypical idea of an Irish girl". SCARLETT HAD BLACK HAIR!!!

But, I was thinking of doing the same here, posting some of the one star reviews of books I'd like to write, as "something to think about".

I personally dislike Outlander. Too much sex, Claire is too 21st century to be a believable 1940's modern girl, the things that happen just wouldn't... like the girl dragging her stone flower press to the wilderness... As if!
Now, a lot of people agree with me, but there's about 10 for each of us, who just LOVES the book. I just have to accept that for some people the correct air of the 1940's and 18th century Scotland isn't that important. If the author just writes BELIEVING strong enough to what she writes, stupid details like "air" are totally irrelevant. I suppose the true 18th century Scotland wouldn't have been even close enough interesting, and a truly modern 1940's Claire would have felt like warm milk compared to girls who ride standing on the saddle because they refuse to ride in ladies' saddle and they are too "moderate" to ride like men. But, but... let's move on :-)

"But darn it, my friends loved the book, I was hanging in there and reading the rest! Then the book drags on and on and ON!...

...And then as a topper we get to the end. It was brutal, horrible, vile, violent, repulsive and quite frankly disturbing. I got the distinct feeling that the author really hated some guy named Jamie and decided to write a book to brutalize him in the worst ways imaginable! Never in my most horrible nightmares could I come up with something so disturbing and I pray that I will never stumble on something like it again!!!

And did I mention the heroine kills a wolf with her bare hands somewhere in the dreadfully long middle section? Why you may ask? I have NO IDEA! Again, no bearing on the story that I can tell. The whole thing just has me scratching my head! And don't even get me started on the dialog! :P

I'd like to go back in time and stop myself from reading this book! "
-- Jodi
"If you're looking for a high-quality historical fiction book that will entertain you while teaching you about a fascinating time and place, this is NOT it.

This is silly lightweight drivel, full of implausibilities, threads that are started and then dropped, actions and decisions that make no sense, and way too much sex. Then there is the detailed account of torture and rape that is almost as sadistic as those in Pillars of the Earth, another highly-praised historical fiction book I have had the recent misfortune of reading."
-- Caroline Otto
I've thought a lot about what I disliked. From the get-go, Gabaldon's writing style bothered me. Her dialogue is stilted and her characters always seem to be laughing so hard they collapse to the ground, or they are engaged in a passionate shouting fest with veins pounding.Neither realistic in their extremes.
I also found the plot to either plod along at a snail's pace or to be so dramatic it often felt like "spin the wheel of conflict."
Ultimately, I just couldn't connect with the characters. Their love story was plot-driven, and although their relationship was supposedly exciting and adventurous, I never felt like they emotionally connected in a satisfactory way. I couldn't figure out why the even loved each other. Sure, they kept saying it and they certainly had a physical connection, but there was very little tenderness, longing or internal suffering--all the stuff that makes a love story tick for me. Additionally, the characters don't mature or change in any way throughout the novel. I can take a shallow protagonist IF she grows--but this simply never happens.

Outlander in a nutshell: too much sex, not enough feeling. Too much action, not enough introspection. Too much sickening violence without motivation.
This is not historical fiction, but a plot-drive romance that left me empty.

"...The "Outlandish" series is beloved by thousands of women worldwide, who passionately overlook mediocre writing, aimless plot, wildly unrealistic situations (Claire killing a starving, 90-lb wolf with her bare hands made time travel look reasonable), unnatural character behavior (why are Jamie and Claire always laughing at the most sober moments?), contradictory themes (Claire admires Jamie's loyalty, loves Frank, but was hunky-dory after just a few days about boinking a total stranger; a stranger whom she then marries and promises her loyalty, but from whom she then tries to flee back home, before being captured...), etc. etc. Perhaps most amazing is their tolerance for the horribly violent, disgusting, and often homosexual masochism that is constant presence in this story.

...Power, Love, Intimacy, Freedom. Claire realizes most of a woman's greatest desires. In Jamie, Gabaldon has created the perfect man; loving, loyal, intimacy seeking, powerful, considerate, subservient, and lightning rod for horrible pain! In addition, Claire suddenly develops the skills of a talented physician, friends appear out of nowhere, as do shelter, food, money and reasources. Its the perfect fantasy. And who wouldn't want to occasionally leave the "old ball and chain" behind for an extended (and optional - she can go back any time) roll in the hay with a great man!

...I felt the main caracter, Claire, to be disloyal, superficial, self-serving, insensitive, and totally unworthy of Jamie and most of the other Scotts characters in the story. It seemed all the better qualities she looked for and needed in others, she never demonstrated herself. Intimacy and trust, perhaps closest to the core of the book's value to woman, Jamie bestows upon Claire in heaps, but she never really reciprocates. Disagree? How often did Claire profess her love to Jaime ("I love you.") unless it was in respose to his prior declaration of same. Never. Perhaps in this way Gabaldon achieves yet another of the things women want - finally turning the tables on men."

"I was particularly shocked during one scene in the book, where Jamie beats Claire so hard that she is in pain for days afterward. This is all treated with a wink and smile, instead of as the wife abuse that it is. We could try to argue that Jamie was simply a victim of his time, and that that is way things were done "back then." But to what purpose? It would have made the hero seem much more mature and compassionate if he'd thrown his upbringing out the door and told Claire "This is the way it's usually done, but I love you too much to ever cause you harm."

Part of the problem is that this book could have been so much more, but wasn't. I expected to see Claire, with her knowledge of future medicine, crying, wishing for antibiotics and desperately trying to save the life of some Scottish child with smallpox or some other illness."
I share some of the problems. I like it when the reviewers offer some solutions, and ideas. It would be nice to see Outlander written with the reviews in mind :-) I believe in Diana Gabaldon's ability to write, I just hate Outlander :-D
Also, mostly because of two things. Not because it would be somewhat extraordinary bad - because it isn't. There is a lot of good in it. No, it's
1) because there are people who are mad about it. It's a best seller, with a lot of side things happening... it's like Harry Potter and Twilight. Which I hate as well, because they are so darn popular. Not that I wouldn't willingly give all that to ladies Gabaldon, Rowling and Meyers, no, we writers need to hold each other's backs :-D But I'm ENVIOUS!!! :-D
2) because I was disappointed. I had such high hopes and expectations, the idea seemed great, and the realization wasn't as great as my idea of it...

1 comment:

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