Thursday, April 23, 2015

When eh’s turn to grrrrr’s

***Spoiler alert*** I’m going to winge on about the plot. If you have any interest in reading the book, don’t read this post.

So I’m still reading Life After Life.  Surprisingly pretty far into it; it is a fast read.  I’m still not feeling it.  In fact, this week, the book went from tiresome to loathsome.

Ursula is finally the main character, but her character is constantly something different.  I suppose this could be part of the point of the book – different choices lead to different character development – but it comes off more as different character leads to different choices.  Sometimes the difference isn’t even her choice; it’s some other character’s.  That all leaves a very eh feeling in my throat.

The downgrade of my opinion of the book happened rather quickly.  I was sitting on the cramped bus as we slowly and not-at-all smoothly jutted and lurched down the road to the Metro station.  Ursula was going up the back stairs of her house for a handkerchief when her brother’s friend comes down the stairs, pins her to the wall and rapes her.  Excuse me?  Besides the logistics of this – in 1920’s clothes, standing, on the stairs – what the?!?  You don’t just plop that down on someone in the middle of their morning.  It took me a couple hours, a few walks around the hallway, Twitter friends, and a concerted effort to throw myself into my work to function.  Bedtime, hours – and now years in the novel – removed from the event, brought nightmares.

The plot line gets more ridiculous from there.  Rather than allowing Ursula to find strength in this experience or recover, or anything, anything at all encouraging, she winds up being beaten to death by an abusive husband.  One can never triumph over their ills, huh? 
It only gets more infuriating.

The whole “thing” about this book is that Ursula dies and comes back and makes a different decision that allows her life to go better.  So, after her husband kills her, she comes back and starts again.  I’m hoping the author gives her a shot to overcome this ordeal – come on author, you can do it.  But no, in order to not wind up murdered by her husband, she has to not be raped.  To achieve this, she punches her brother’s friend in the face when he tries to kiss her, months before the encounter on the stairs.  Last time, she didn’t stop him from kissing her.  This made me even angrier than the surprise logistically implausible stair scene.  It makes what happens on the stairs her fault.

She’s died again since then.  Several times.  There have been some other versions of the story, but in none of them – so far – does the stair scene happen again; she always fends him off at the kissing scene.  Now, she’s hanging out in Bavaria with Eva and Adolf in the 1930s.  Um…. ok….
Yet, still reading.  (But seriously eyeing up that new copy of International Intellectual Property on my shelf.)

No comments: