Sunday, February 20, 2011

Freshly Served Oddities Here!

Okay, reading further into The Color of Water,  it gets... better? I really can't decide actually. James McBride still kinda ticks me off with some of the situations he presents and Ruth is still pretty fascist, but it goes... somewhere. First let's start with James, specifically his apparent manifestation of what can be construed as either narcississm or just plain garden variety crazy in the fact that he kisses his reflection. I didn't know what to think of this really, it was kind of an "Oh... that's cool." moment, where you don't know what to say so you sit there and look really freaking awkward. But I digress. Then in every chapter, McBride tries to impart some kind of wisdom in the end. Sorry buddy, but I find your advice just a bit questionable. Okay that was a joke, but what really irked me was the fact that at the core, this is a story, a narrative. Tell the story for the hell of it sometimes, don't try to impart life lessons with every chapter. But that's just my opinion, and that and a quarter will get you 25 cents. Then we come to his dad, who by now seems to be McBride's idol. Until he ignores the fact that his dad is in the hospital for two weeks until his mom forces him to go. Then he says his dad isn't a man of dialogue, and that dialogue was his mom's job. Huh? What the hell? Last I checked, fascism didn't involve dialogue. It was more like, "I run everything, you have no autonomy, hop off." The only dialogue there had better be "Ja Fraulein." McBride confuses me the further I read into his book. Ruth, however, kind of redeemed herself in this section. Her childhood made me feel a little sorry for her. Not enough to pardon the totalitarian regime, but you know. But here is the one point this book made me crack up: The Jewish family had a German maid. Maybe I was a little delusional at this point, but hey, it was ironic to me. This whole Rachel vs. Ruth thing is kind of tiring though, you can't separate yourself into two people without losing something good in the process. And yes Elijah, I got your point on that one. So to wrap this thing up, if it seems like I don't have a clear direction on this thing, I don't. I still don't like it, but I need to convene with myself to see if I still hate it. It's like Portal, it confuses the crap out of you (feel free to let that whiz over your head, it's mostly for a conversation I had yesterday). But I stand by my question. Why the hell is this a good book?

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Virtues of Nazi-ism and Facist Mentalities

That's what this book should be called. After 85 pages of James McBride's oh so fan-freaking-tastic "novel", it ranks somewhere along an essay I wrote I third grade while hyped up on sugar. Now I'm by no means the best writer or literary connoisseur out there. But I know what I like. I like authors who can tell a story, make it interesting, throw in some humor (if they're good at humor and if it serves to further the purpose of the book), and have a consistent theme or message of some sort that makes good reasonable sense. What I don't like however, is this amalgamation of an autobiography of the author and a biography of his mother (though it's written like an autobiography, you'd swear he was the world's first freakin' telepath or something), that complains about the issues of sibling rivalry and tries to portray a psychologically questionable Nazi-esque mother as sweet and caring. The way James McBride writes it, he wants you to feel sorry about the fact that she essentially turns her kids against each other in a form of in-house Darwinism, brainwashes them into being afraid of anything not having to do with school and Church, to the point even, that they fear sharing the most minute details of their lives, and finally enforces this with a strict purist Nazi-like policy of : Explore ze outtside und you vill be punished vit ze beatings. Alright, maybe I'm getting a little ludicrous. And to some extent I do feel sorry for Ruth. Being sexually molested and beaten by her father, I'd be more worried if she didn't have issues, that had to be horrible. But there's a point where you just can't blame a person's actions on their childhood anymore and you have to see that it's them. And Ruthie passed that milestone a while back. I suppose my giant rant about all of this is asking the question,"Why the hell is this a good book?" It's pretentious, has terrible morals, and quite frankly, some serious grammar issues. If there was ever one to unleash the flying monkeys on...