Or maybe I should title this seething. Being that it is a book review that comes off far from complimentary, and possibly a bit angry, I shall rethink the title. Nah, leave it.
The online book club is likely to kick me out from my long drawn out remarks of criticism over the book Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan. My first complaint was that he had too many vowels in his name. Can you see the claws are already out?
My dislike of the story started on the first page. The portrayal of the female heroine and lead character that the book appears to be about doesn’t quite come off. It stinks actually. It comes off as a man trying to write as a woman, a man with pompous attitude trying to write a dumber woman than he believes himself to be intelligent. It misses the mark. It’s ugly.
As a reader, I didn’t like Serena, even less did I like her choice of men. I just didn’t like this book. I couldn’t believe it, the ending which (spoiler) confessed it was all a hoax and twisted the tale on end, annoyed me even more. I felt cheated. Worse yet, I felt it was on purpose.
So I dug a little. I found out more about the author, who was unknown beyond the printed name on the cover. He is a man of letters. Goody for him. The story did remind me of the countless assigned writing courses from college, where technique of storytelling was the point and principal, not necessarily did that go hand in hand with a well told enjoyed composition.
Further exploration on my part led me to an article by The Observer, Ian McEwan ‘I had the time of my life’ by Rachel Cooke. Mr. McEwan admits the story is a ‘muted and distorted autobiography’. Ah, now, here is some truth in a deceptive story. He was in ways we will never realize writing about himself. Add in the fact that McEwan does not like first person narratives, completely outside his comfort zone. I will give him brave.
I still don’t like the book, but now it begins to explain why there are points along the way that kept me reading. In between his discomfort in narrative and hitting close to home of his personal life, the storyteller emerges on occasion. Me thinks this was perhaps a struggle as much for the writer, as the reader.
Maybe I will reread it again. Maybe.