Sunday, August 28, 2016
The Classic Not Taken
I suspect the answer to "why" will be much the same for all of us. There will be THAT book that, for whatever reason, we felt we *should* read, made some kind of attempt at - maybe multiple ones - and finally gave up.
Mine is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
People, I have tried to read this book SO MANY TIMES. One thing about writing these sorts of posts is that you'll inevitably get someone who loved loved loved the book and is desperate for you to give it ONE MORE TRY. "Just get past page X," they say. Or, "but the payoff when..." they offer hopefully.
I ain't gonna.
I finally got rid of my copy, in fact, so absolve myself of its haunting presence and the guilt that I failed to love it. And don't remind me that it's in the common domain now and I can get it for free.
I DON'T CARE.
You couldn't pay me to read this book.
(Okay, maybe enough money would make me slog through it. $200K comes to mind. Give me that and I'll read the damn thing.)
I first picked up a copy of this book in my mid-twenties, full of chipper excitement, because Anne Rice had it be the hero's favorite book in The Witching Hour. She made a persuasive case for the impact this book had on him, and The Witching Hour had an *enormous* impact on me, so I was all ready to be equally in love.
No. So, not.
(I did this all the time in those days, chained from book to book, like going from flower to flower in a lush garden. I still do it, to some extent, though I feel like I have less reading time for it.)
But I persevered! I loved Anne Rice so much, I figured I MUST love a book she loved. There's a transitive property of book loving involved there. Only writing this post, years later, does it occur to me that maybe Anne *doesn't* love Great Expectations. Maybe she simply picked it as a good classic for the hero to love. Back then I didn't know authors did this. (They totally do.) I'm friendly with her son, Christopher Rice - now I'm tempted to ask him to find out the truth here.
Anyway - I kept the book and, every year or so, I'd pick it up and try again. Then put it down again in boredom and disgust. Over time, I developed an active hatred for the story. I even watched the movies - both the 1998 and the 2012 versions, thinking maybe those would light me up.
Nope nope nope.
It's just not meant to be. And, for the record, I don't really care for any of Dickens except A Christmas Carol, which I'm sure makes me the literary equivalent of the Catholic who goes to mass only at Easter and Christmas.
Since I'm a Catholic-by-family only and never go to mass, this doesn't bother me greatly.
So, I'm begging you - don't tell me what a great book this is. I'm sure it must be. I just ... can't. Instead, tell me which classic YOU couldn't read!
Labels: A Christmas Carol, Anne Rice, Dickens, Great Expectations, Jeffe Kennedy, the classic we couldn't read, The Witching Hour
@jeffekennedy I’m a woman, a Westerner & a writer of fantasy, romance & erotica. Repped by Sarah Younger, Nancy Yost Literary. I lost the line, so I cross it. Fair warning.