Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book #14: "Misfortune" by William Stace

I've already mostly forgotten what this book was about. To be fair, I read it almost three weeks ago, but I think it'd be equally fair to say that you don't forget the good books. Even the bad books are memorable in some way; even if they're not exactly pleasant memories. This one was just one forgettable, mediocre book. Something that was hard to remember even when I was reading it, which is honestly just an impressive display of nothingness.

What vague memories I have of it allow me to tell you that it was about a boy who was raised as a girl by his big weirdo of a father. The story was set in England in the 17th Century or so, most of it taking place in a big, boring, empty mansion. The boy, called Rose, was abandoned and later picked up by a very rich nobleman, who for some ridiculous reason decided to bring him up as a girl with the help of his mother's nurse. Rose grows up, has a couple of friends and as he hits his teenage years--well, you can probably guess what happens. All is revealed. Rose runs away and goes on some frankly bizarre and confusing adventures, then comes back and everything is tied up neatly in a big fat bow of Happily Ever After--something about wearing a dress while also having a beard...I don't know. It's not important.

Nothing ever felt important. The story is told by Rose, and, if there's something I've learned while doing the Cannonball is that very, very few people know how to do a good first-person narration. It takes a very good writer to manage the technique, and William Stace just isn't that good, and Rose came off as exceedingly whiny and pathetic a narrator. One who is also rather unlikable. And when you start off with an unlikable main character and you give them nothing good to be surrounded by- no fleshed-out supporting characters, no exciting dialogue, no real plot, not even a good mystery-- you just have a big pile of nothing on your hands.

I can't even get worked up enough to hate it. Stace is not a terrible writer, but he started out with a weak story that never really got going. I confess I spent most of the last quarter of the book skipping large paragraphs of boring, useless exposition in an attempt to just get the book finished. I even put off writing this review for a very long time--the book was so boring that I didn't even want to relieve it long enough to write this.

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