I don’t often abandon books. Or I don’t think I do, though, if I looked soberly and honestly at the 75 or so books stacked on our coffee table (yeah, it’s big & strong), I’d need to admit that I’ve started quite a few and just sort of put them down. For a year. Or forever. The coffee table clearly needs to be renamed The Table of Grand Intentions and Abandoned Dreams.
But actively abandoning a book is rather different. And it’s what I did with this Christopher Boucher book. I’m sure I bought it because of the clever cover and because I was in the mood to be charmed. But it didn’t work.
It’s sort of a Blue Man Group on paper. If you’ve ever been to one of their performances, you’ll perhaps agree that the first 15 minutes is really fun, the second 15 is fun, the third merely smile-inducing and by the end the people sitting behind you are ill-dressed overweight boors, your seat is really uncomfortable, the sightlines suck, and you simply can’t imagine why everyone thinks these Blue Men are so good. Yawn.
Same with this. The cuteness of having a protagonist VW with a Name and a Personality wears off fast. And it’s set relentlessly in Massachusetts, a clever rural state, it turns out. It’s a puzzle of a whimsical regional novel, the kind that’s published by East Coast publishers who don’t understand that regional whimsy isn’t necessarily worth national attention. (I got the book in Seattle. My bad. The buyer for Elliot Bay Books’s bad.)
You can also skip The Feng Shui Detective, Nury Vittachi’s detective (really?) novel set in Singapore. It’s worth it for what I rather ignorantly imagine is a useful mood portrait of Singapore or maybe just so you can get an idea of what Feng Shui might really be like in a society that sometimes understands the idea. But not as a novel. That said, I did finish it, hoping foolishly for a resolution to a rather not engaging crime.
In a surge of lame charity, let me just add that the book is printed on really nice paper and has a nice binding. ☺