Monday, May 28, 2007

Defining Literary?

A friend of mine met author Jodi Picoult. I'd never heard fo her, but then again, there are thousand of authors I've never heard of, so...
The next time I browsed books, however, I saw several of her books. I chose this one, THE TENTH CIRCLE, out of the lot for my first experience in reading Picoult.

As most of the readers of this blog know, I tend to read only my lines, which consist of romantic suspense and comedy. So needless to say, this was quite a different experience for me. Overall, I did enjoy it. My only issues were the following:

1) The writing is beautifully done. The story is excellently told. However, if you remove all names and pronouns from any page, you don't know whose POV you're in. I did not get a distinct voice for each of the three main characters, and given that one is a mother, one is a father (different sexes think different ways) and one a teenage daughter of 14 (and let's face is, teenage girls are an entirely different species all together...), there should have been clearer voice for each.

2) I really disliked the ending. It felt too abrupt. Not bad, but I wish there had been more closure to all the various situations presented in the book.

It this book literary? I wrote the Brilliant One, but Evil Editor was buried in Novel Deviations II. I don't read literary, so I have no comparison. I think it is, but I'm just not sure. I've heard agents and editors both say it's hard to define but they know it when they see it. I don't know it, I'm not sure I've seen it, but I'm thinking this may be it.

By the way, I do recommend this book. I liked it enough to stay up and read it in just two days.


Becky said...

Yea.. I feel the same way about Picoult. I like the stories, but she's not so good with the development of characters and making them really alive for me.

That being said, I do have her 19 Minutes on my TBR, as I have read most everything else she has written.

You might enjoy "My sister's Keeper" by her. That one stood out for me.

Anonymous said...

she has several books published, 2003 RWA Award, Degrees from Princeton and Harvard.......
She must be doing something right

Brenda Bradshaw said...

Oh I have no idea she's doing something right - she tells a fabulous story. But like any book we read, we'll find things we loved and things we didn't care a lot for... and this is no exception.

Take Stephen King. Anyone who knows me knows I adore Stephen King, but man oh man, he needs more romance in his novels! When love is involved, it ups the stakes for the characters - they have even more to lose.

Does that mean I'll stop reading King? Nope. Just like I'll pick up another Picoult. I liked it very much. Doesn't mean I have to love every aspect of it though.

Anonymous said...

All the more reason to take the bull by the horns!
Get those queries out, get your work published and on the shelves...........

Brenda Bradshaw said...

Ha! I'm working on it!!

I liked her well enough to buy another one; this time I got SALEM FALLS.

Kat said...

I am a Picoult fan...and am currently reading the Tenth Circle. I feel a little differently about her character development - for me, it works. I become involved in the story and the story-telling...maybe it's because I take my time reading it (since the only time I have is when I'm on the pot!). I savor her books. I feel like I am cheating myself if I read them too fast.

What I've also found out about her books is that I am thinking about the ending weeks after I am done reading it. No other author has had that effect on me.

I really like "Keeping Faith." You should try that one out!