Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

Imaginary Friends

Often I don't like a book because I don't like the characters and can't stand to spend time with them. But really, is it necessary to like a character to enjoy a book? Can't you hate the people but like the plot? I'm not sure. Here are some books where I just couldn't get into the characters. Some are nonfiction, but even though the people are real, they are distant to my life, and might as well be made up.

"Pretty Girls" by Garret Weyr - At first, I couldn't tell UNC students Alex, Caroline and Penelope apart; later, I could but didn't care. They're all involved in some way with Edward, who is seeing pretty but dim Susan, who has family issues... It's all depressing and joyless.

"American Dreams" by Norma Klein - Susan, Conrad, Jay, and Xenia (fictionally) graduated from Columbia/Barnard 10 years before I did so I should feel some familiarity with them and their milieu. But I had trouble relating to these glum, sad people who never could quite connect.

"The Sandman" by Robert Ward - Brilliant Manhattan anesthesiologist Dr. Peter Cross is also a crazed serial killer! OK, I'm not supposed to like this character, but the evil gets to be a bit much. Peter tries to love new nurse Debby, but only murder can fill his Space. Run, Debby, run!

"The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women & a Forty-Year Friendship" by Jeffrey Zaslow - The author chronicled this group of 11 (10 surviving) friends from Ames, Iowa from adolescence into their 40s. I had a hard time remembering who was who, and even moving stories like the death of a child got buried in the shuffle.

"The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After" by Melanie Gideon - I hate to say it, but this year in the author's life was not that interesting (and she could say the same about my life). Wife, husband, son and dog do mostly normal things in the Bay Area. I did like the story of the search for the perfect mattress.

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