Friday, January 1, 2010

Author Responsibly

I received two novels for Christmas: My Sister's Keeper and Julie and Julia. I was so excited to receive these. I had already seen the movie made from the latter title, but I really wanted to read that first book before I saw the movie. So in just a few days I read it. Lovely book.

Now I am not a paid published writer, but I was really disappointed about unnecessary language and a couple sex scenes in My Sister's Keeper. I understand that there needs to be different character development and maybe some readers even relish the "f" word and spicy scences. But truly, does everybody you know use the "f" word? I doubt it. So if Jesse, the 18-year-old deliquent son periodically used that type of language, that was in character and believable. But when the lawyers did and the fire-fighters, it made me wonder if Jodi Picoult lives in a different world than I do, or if I am in a comfortable soundproof bubble, or if possibly Ms. Picoult could come up with something else to express what she wants her characters to convey. I'm hoping the last of the list is the most true. I think she is a really gifted writer, and I think that the book was amazing. For those who haven't read it, I've heard that the movie is much different, but I have yet to see it. The ending is truly a heart-wrenching surprise, but it made the story so much more poignant. I admire the skill with which Jodi Picoult delivered the central plot from beginning to end.

Now I have already begun reading Julie and Julia, and my finding so far is the same: unnecessary language and sexual references. But it seems that Julie Powell felt the need to dish the language out quickly in the first few pages. I hope that this is not what authors believe we all want to be fed. I really loved the movie and I am hoping that the book measures up to the expectation that I had for it, but I'm not sure if I'll make it past the sexual references and language. There was just too much of it in the first chapter. So I find myself ambiguous about the appetizer, reluctant to head into the main course, wary about the presentation of the meal, and wondering if the dessert will be enough to redeem the blemishes of the entirety. I know if the next few pages don't convince me, that I will leave the book unread and move on to something else. That will make me sad, because I still believe that most books outshine the movies that come from them. We will see.

Maybe I'm being unfair to the second book because I had my fill of the being dished language and sexuality for which I was not seeking in a few short days. Be that as it may, I hope that there will be more novels of quality produced, and that the authors will be confident enough in their cleverness to leave out those things that they know would be offensive to their mothers or grandmothers, their own daughters or nieces. After all, many mothers, grandmothers, daughters, and nieces are reading their books.

The movie made me want to be a better cook and a better wife. It made me want to devour life and love and live with greater passion and zest. It was so tastefully done.

1 comment:

  1. I read another chapter and set the book aside. There is too much good reading available.