Saturday, 12 June 2010

For the First Time EVER!

I'm going to do a book review! Yay! (Actually, I'm not sure if it's the first time ever, but let's say it is for the sake of awesomeness, mmk?)


Life is getting a little hectic again. That means over the past couple of days I've wasted almost no time on nintendo. Yippee!! :) (Except, of course, as research for my zeldaseriesawesomenessposts) (But even that didn't take to much time.)(hehehe)

SO! Onto the book review!

I know I was supposed to be reading The Yiddish Policeman's Union and Wives and Daughters, (and I have authors, promise!) but my mom is in an english speaking book club and she brought home a story that centers around Holt County, Colorado. It's called Plainsong, written by Kent Haruf.

Here's the blurb on the back cover:
"Combining the stories of high-school teacher Tom Guthrie, bringing up his two young sons alone, pregnant teenager Victoria Roubideaux, and Raymond and Harold McPheron, the uncommunicative cattle-farming brothers who taker her in, Plainsong paints a convincing, compelling picture of small-town life in Holt County, Colorado."

Authors, this book was magical. Part of the magic was that it used absolutely no quotation marks. Weird, right? But the characters just spoke, and the flow that the (lack of) punctuation created was truly plainsong. Here's a snippet, when Victoria has just been thrown out of her house and has gone to her teacher for help, explaining everything:

- Yes. But you don't understand, the girl said. He was nice. He was nice to me. He would tell me things.
Would he?
Yes. He told me things.
Like what for instance?
Like once he said I had beautiful eyes. He said my eyes were like black diamonds lit up on a starry night.
They are honey.
But nobody ever told me.
No, Maggie said. They never do. She looked out through the doorway into the other room. -

And the whole book is that same, sweet, heartwrenching style. The book wasn't exciting, parts of it I loved, other parts were a cliche, but that's okay, because that's life. There are funny, real-life situations - like two old bachelors who've never had a family taking in a pregnant 17 year old.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. Is it my favorite book in the world? No - I'm a fantasy gal - but I loved it. And it is a unique book, written in a unique style. One of those stories that you can't regret reading, even if you hate the story (and you won't) because the style opens your eyes to a whole new world of writing. If you can break the rules of having quotation marks, what else is possible? (Not that I'd recommend suddenly never using punctuation again, I'm just saying some rules we follow blindly. Some books shouldn't be made to follow those rules. Not all -grammar is there for a reason- but maybe some.)

I had two reactions to this book, the writer side, the reader side. Both were enthralled, for entirely different reasons. You don't start reading this story, you walk into it, right in the middle of it.
I cannot recommend this enough if your writing has felt stale recently. Heck, even if your writing is going swimmingly, read it - because it's a really good book.

So, authors, are there any books that changed your view of writing? Was it the story or the style that most affected you?

(P.S. sorry I don't sound so upbeat and quirky today! I am happy, honest! It's reviews are serious stuffs, because this is someone's heart work. I don't want to joke about it. If it were a funny book, I might, but not a beautiful heart-wrencher like this one!)


Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like a really interesting read - thanks for the tip!

Kathryn said...

Did you find it hard to adjust to the lack of punctuation at first? "Angela's Ashes" is written in a similar way and I was lost for a bit. Otherwise, totally agree - there's a world of new styles out there once we break a few rules and a whole new way to interpret literature! Thanks for the book recommendation!

Marsha Sigman said...

This sounds so good! And your right, rules are there for a reason but they can be broken and really well too.

There are so many books that changed my life and way of thinking that I can't begin to name them. But recently I read one that did flashbacks completely out of sync, and it really worked for the story. That was an eye-opener.

Bridge Marie said...

Ooo, Plainsong looks lovely, the excerpt you posted is just gorgeous. It's definitely not the kind of book I'd have picked up on my own, but maybe I'll look into it now.