Decluttering books

Did not finish!

I’ve told you how hard it is for me to stop reading a book when it is, by all reviews, a great book.

I don’t start every book I pick up.

But once I’ve started a book that is well-written or literary or intellectually challenging. I feel I must persevere; must not let the book beat me.

It’s like a central thesis of mine: get into a book, it must be finished.

But I’m going to break my own internal laws.

I’ve stopped reading this:

It’s beautifully, lyrically written. I love the sense of place. The concept finding self in a fishing town in Tassie; the conflict between helping dad on the fishing boat or being consigned to the horror of working in a cannery or moving to the big unknown, this all has the potential to be original and insightful. The author is a surfer and it shows in her descriptions of surfing – she gets surfing.

So why am I not finishing the book?

It’s not a hard read. I could finish it in a weekend.

It’s the abuse that I know is coming. And one of the sons dies. That’s obvious to me. And confirmed by reading reviews and questions on Goodreads.

Why did the author have to go to melodramatic extreme? It’s like all those books that came out a decade or so ago about child abuse. Those Cathy Glass ones.

OK, Past the Shallows is much better stylistically. It has a better plot, not formulaic. Sense of place is strong.

But it’s not the book I want. I want it to be a book on identity, on coming from a small Tassie fishing village with low employment options where allowing self-expression is actively crushed, where options for masculinity are very limited to hard-drinking, gruff monosyllabic utterances. But the character wins out. The dad may have hit a kid once but doesn’t routinely abuse his children and doesn’t force his child to leave school early.

I want what the blurb on the back says isn’t enough, to be enough. Brotherly love. Secret friendships. Small treasures. I want their power to be enough.

So I’m not finishing it. And I’m giving the book away.

4 thoughts on “Decluttering books

  1. I am never compelled to read (or finish) books–no matter how well written–that are beyond my desire/will/nerves/tolerance to handle.

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