So, I'm conflicted about this post. I've more or less decided that this blog was going to be a place to write about children's literature in a positive manner. Not that I don't enjoy reading the odd eviscerating review every now and then, but it's clear to me that for the most part, everyone who writes a book is trying their best. Really. It's hard to write a book, and it's dreadfully unfair, really, that not everyone who does it is equally talented. They'd write a better book if they could, I think, it's just not that simple.
We got Evil Genius on the recommendation of a clerk at one of our favorite bookstores. And it looked funny, and dark, and smart, so Diana cheerfully went ahead and we brought it home. She read it for a few hours, then abruptly put it down.
Usually this means something that makes her uneasy has occurred, but she wouldn't say what when I asked her, only said that she'd wanted to stop. So I decided to read it in case there was anything I would be hearing about in an upcoming nightmare.
Evil Genius isn't a bad book. It's fine. It is dark, and it is smart. It tries, and tries hard, to explore things that matter, like morality, and intelligence, and love. But it just…fails. At least for me. It's one of those books where I'm left thinking how clear it is that being smart isn't what makes someone a good writer. The author has good ideas, and lots of energy, and no end of intelligence, but no one comes through, not really. Characters blur, the ideas never blossom, and in all the attempts to convey true feeling is attempted to be conveyed by come down to how many times the boy bursts into tears, as though to prove he really has feelings–and a heart–now. But it's a heart that never reaches us, somehow.
It feels sort of terrible to write this. I know the author had great vision and hope for this book, the whole thing exudes her ambition and desire. But I read it with hopes, too, and am left feeling sort of let down and blue. I don't think I'm going to write any more posts like this, I don't think it's what I want to do here. It's always so sad when a book can't bring you around to its point of view.
Diana ended up coming back to the book, and liking it OK. She never told me what it was that put her off, however temporarily. I guess I'll never know.