Sep 17

I don’t know if you are like me but sometimes I put a lot of effort into researching just the right book to read right now. When I take this much time and give this much care to a book choice, I feel committed to it. I feel like I should finish it. I give similar reverence to independent films. It is a sense of stick-to-it-iveness, a misguided sense of loyalty, that pulls me through slow chapters, pushes me through boring writing to see the bigger picture. Often it pays off. To read it a book in its entirety is a different experience than to read it for its individual parts. It makes a difference, sometimes all the difference. It was this tenacity that got me through the first 50 or so pages of Atlas Shrugged which turned out to be an extremely good book.

Other times I get stuck. I find drudging through certain books I start to find ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to do other than read. I will get sleepier faster. I will convince myself I MUST dust that bookshelf right now! I begin to see the reasoning behind alphabetizing and labeling. I procrastinate and stall. That is where I am right now with this book I am reading, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (an Australian author). I am STUCK! I have been reading slowly, very, very slowly…and that is when I can be bothered to pick the book up.

As part of my book-it-around-the-world journey challenge I gave much thought to what countries I had not read any or a lot of literature from their authors. I thought about which countries I should choose from and why. I then researched the newer literature coming from these countries. I really wanted to experience current literary trends in other countries. I decided upon Australia as my first book. I read blogs, media reviews, opinion after opinion. I looked up the awards they have and which books were receiving them and why… I read lots of descriptions, jacket covers, detailed descriptions to choose just the right book. And I thought I did. The Slap has a very interesting premise–amidst a barbeque/get-together someone slaps another person’s child and reviews, the official blurb, the awards it won or was nominated for all indicated that this book explored the lives of the people who attended the event in exquisite and intriguing detail in order to dissect this one event through a socio/psychological focus individually! I was very excited about this book and hence chose it to read first.

I don’t want to turn this into a book review. That will come later. Suffice to say that I am stuck some 120ish pages in and I am weary of pushing myself through 300+ more pages. When the author addresses ‘the slap’ and the views around it, the book is fascinating. Unfortunately the main topic seems to be unnecessary, vulgar sex scenes that litter every single chapter, every single character’s story. I am by no means a prude but I feel this book focuses more on the sordid sexual affairs of every character than ‘the slap’ or the cultural, sociological, psychological, physical or even personal beliefs behind this main event. And to make it even more unbearable the sex scenes are clearly written by a misogynist. These sexual experiences are primarily male-gratuitous and feel unrealistic to me. If this is an accurate peek into social norms in Australia, I feel sorry for Australian women for they are portrayed as hardly more than a warm hole for the drugged up, sexist men in this book. They are not even sexually gratified but rather completely self-effacing and oblivious to sex being a two-party event.

I am at a standstill. I do not know if I should continue on with this overly sexed novel hoping to get to the meat and bones of the story or if I should just give up and choose a different Australian book.

I am stuck.

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