March 27, 2006
Whenever I write down what I thought of a book I've read, the ones I feel ambivalent about like "True Enough" are the hardest to write. It's easy to find something to say when you really love or really hate a book; it's much harder when you don't really care about what you've just read.
For myself, I think the problem is so many of these social satires written with ironic detachment ("The Sportswriter" by Richard Ford comes to mind) leave me feeling empty. In part I think it's because while I'm optimist I'm jaded enough to already know love stinks and life stinks. If that's all you got, then it's not enough. Tell me something I didn't already know. Or at the very least, feed my naive notions that true love exists and life can get better.
But to be fair, "True Enough" is amusing and often funny as a satire about the whiny pseudocrises of upper-middle-class Easterners. My favorite part is when Jane gets out of her car to confront the impatient soccer mom in the SUV. I'd need several more limbs to count the number of times I've wanted to do that sort of thing.
If you don't already know, the plot involves Desmond, a gay man in
I felt a little cheated at the end where the author switches to the viewpoint of Rosemary, Jane's cynical friend who made a mint on a teary memoir of her husband's death. The switch kept me as the reader from really knowing how things had worked out for Jane and Desmond about a year after the
For the most part while reading this I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, but nothing ever did. Even the big surprise at the end elicited a yawn. Too little, too late for the big shock. After lulling me into a detached-ironic-stupor for 300 pages, why try to shake me out of it in the last 15?
I don't have any complaints about the writing itself, nor did I find anything to rave about in that area. Which is symptomatic of the whole thing. At the end I shrug and say, "So what?"
The whole point seems to be that love and life doesn't work out as we planned. To quote a very popular movie, "Well I'm glad you're here to tell us these things." I'd never have figured that out on my own. So what?
That is all.