Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I was rooting for the Big Bad Wolf

In a previous post, I mentioned how much I loathed Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red, a contemporary retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, featuring two sisters who become werewolf hunters after their grandmother is attacked and killed by one.

I suggested I might blog about it eventually, but I couldn't really say it any better than the Book Smugglers did in their recent review.

I wanted to like this novel.  Really, I did.  It had some clever twists:  the address of the apartment building the characters live in is "333," a reference to LRRH's tale-type number (AT 333), and the werewolves are called the fenris, from the Old Norse word for wolf.  Plus, I get that LRRH has always been either implicitly or explicitly sexual.  Just do a Google search for LRRH images to see how adult and tarty LRRH often appears, or read this version of the tale.

But does that mean the LRRH figure actually has to dress up like a hooker and go out deliberately trying to draw wolves to her?

Thanks, but I prefer my "girl power" a little less girly.  And a whole lot less creepy.

Sisters Red is book I almost put down (nay, almost threw across the room) several times.  I haven't had that feeling about a book in a long time.

Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who sort of feels compelled to finish a book once I've gotten through a significant chunk of it.  I'm curious:  do you all share that feeling, or are you perfectly OK with never finishing a book that you've decided you don't like...even if you've gotten more than halfway through it?

Artwork:  WPA poster by Kenneth Whitley (1939)


Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

If I hate it in the first few chapters, I don't finish it. Once I'm halfway though, I feel like I need to finish it.

Jim said...

Every book I read is keeping me from reading the next book in my queue ... when I stop thinking it deserves my time, I stop reading it. Hubris or effective time management?

Time and money invested in the book do play a role in the decision, though. And the Kindle has affected my thinking on this issue, as the next book is literally right there.

I didn't even make it a quarter of the way through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because George Moore and Ed McBain were right behind her.

Beth said...

Life is way too short to be hijacked by bad literature. Even if I have paid full price for a book, if I don't like it within the first couple of chapters (or even half way through), it goes into the sell-pile. Next!

Michael said...

In my youth, I tried to finish every book I started, but now I'm with Jim. There are too damn many other books in line, so I have no qualms about giving up. I usually give it to page 40 or 50 for fiction; more for non-fiction, though I'll also skim non-fic if I'm interested in the topic but find the telling tedious.

Jane said...

I usually give a novel 50 pages, and then maybe 50 pages more if there's a glimmer of hope it might develop, but if it doesn't, I read the last chapter (to find out what happened to the plot) and let it go.

Like all the commenters, when I was a kid, I always finished books. No more. I calculated that I only read about 25 full-length books a year, so I want them to be meaningful experiences. When I was a girl, I would burn through 50 or 60 books a summer, and if 20 were great, that was enough.

Rosemary said...

"Hijacked by bad literature": I like that phrase. Thanks for the permission to abandon books, even after the halfway point, and even if I've paid good money for them.

I guess when it's a book I'm reading for (dubious) professional reasons, like YA lit, I feel somewhat more compelled to push through. But then, I've tried to start reading _Twilight_ about five times and never got past the first 30 pages, so maybe I should put more trust in my instincts?

Christy said...

I once stopped reading a nearly 400-page book 22 pages from the end. Just couldn't bear it anymore. I didn't really consciously give up -- more let it evaporate from my consciousness, till I found it on the nightstand, bookmark still in place, and realized, Huh, I guess I never finished that one. I put that sucker back on the shelves and never looked back.