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mistake

1/23/2012

I made the mistake of starting to read a story about a family who had a child killed. I had to stop. I was two chapters in and I felt physically ill.

All the reviews of this particular story were extremely positive. How "life affirming' and "beautiful" this story was.

I can say it is well written. I can say it's effective. That's about it.

Maybe I'm getting more sensitive as I get older? Maybe my frame of referenc has changed? Maybe this story just hit too close to home? I don't know.

I can understand writing this book. I can't understand wanting to read it. Does that make sense?

This is the second book over the past year or so that I've had to put down. The first was the second part of a trilogy that has been at the top of the charts forever, or so it seemed to me. I read the first book on a recommendation, and liked parts of it. I was a little disconcerted toward the end. I got the idea in my head that the guy who wrote the book wasn't being honest with me.

Allright, I'll cop to it. I couldn't finish the second Stieg Larsson book because I got a sick sense that this guy was writing porn.

I've read some books that could be called "torture-porn", they are easy to pick out. The last couple of Hannibal Lecter books, Brett Easton Ellis, a couple of airport best-sellers that were knockoffs of the Lecter books... and I cringed when I should have cringed, and was shocked when I was supposed to be shocked. But the Larsson book gave me the seriously disturbing feeling that this guy was interested in sex trafficking in a completely different way than he was presenting. There was no completely over-the-top imagery, no underlying dark humor, no fourth wall.

I got the distinct impression that even though all of the correct assumptions were made, even though all the correct platitudes were mouthed, even though the good guy wins in the end (or so I've been told), the hero was just an excuse to have a victim. Something, in fact, made me sure of it. I started, but put down the second book. I'm sure there will be people who think that I'm reading my own hang-ups into the story. There will be people that think I'm some kind of PC Puritan who would force everyone to read nothing but the Bible. Go ahead and read it. There's plenty of violence against women in the Bible, but I never got the feeling that the guy writing it wanted us to skip the dialog and jump to the dog-eared torture scenes. I couldn't help thinking that the guy wrote those parts first and filled in the rest.

This other story didn't make me feel dirty, but did make me feel bad. Bad enough that I bailed. I'm not saying that the author of this other story wanted to kill a kid, I'm saying that I made a mistake in thinking that a story about a dead child would be a relaxing read. If something should happen to my wife or any of my children I think I would probably go insane, I pray every day that nothing does. All this story did, as well written as it was, was make me realize how little influence I have on the actions of others in regards to the safety of my family. I don't need to dwell on that. It's not a good thing to do. It will lead to depression and paranoia, I have enough of that in my personality already. I have to think happy thoughts.

Good Lord, I should probably just watch cartoons.

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