I read two books recently that were duds, and thought I'd get them out of my pea sized brain by warning everyone about them.
THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I found this in my attic a couple of weeks ago, when I went upstairs to clean out the central air conditioning filter and check the drainage line for leaks. (No leaks, filter was OK, I have no idea why the ceiling below it was wet. Not that it matters.) I was pretty excited, because, well, it's good ol' F. Scott himself. Someone must have paid a quarter or so for this at a used book sale, because it's a paperback, printed before the US had zip codes.
THE DOGS OF BABEL
by Carolyn Parkhurst
I bought this at a used book sale because of the dog on the cover, with the intention of sending it to the relative in Denver. It's a large print edition (she has vision issues), so I thought she would enjoy it. But I decided to read it first, and I'm glad I did.
Paul Iverson, a professor of linguistics, came home from work one day to find emergency crews in his yard. His wife, Lexi, had fallen from the top of an apple tree in their yard, and only their dog, Lorelei, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, was there. Paul decides that he should take a sabbatical and teach the dog to speak, so she can tell him what happened to Lexi: was it an accident or suicide?
The book bothered me. I understand being distraught over the loss of a spouse. However (and don't lynch me for this if you disagree), I don't think dogs can relate a third person's experience and feelings. Not that dogs don't remember people - they do - just that they can't understand what's going on in someone else's head, and identify what they did. Paul starts trying to make Lorelei talk, learn sounds, for things like water, with the idea that he can get her to narrate Lexi's demise to him. I found that creepy.
And then he began corresponding with someone who had been arrested for performing gruesome surgeries on dogs to render them capable of speech. Ick. Double ick. Ultimately, Paul figured out on his own what had happened, but by that time, I was just scanning the book. It's not going to Denver, because I don't want to upset its intended recipient; I'll donate it to Goodwill instead. Maybe someone else will like it. 2/5
This Thorsday Book Review is brought to you by Winston, surveying the world from the comfort of what he would surely describe as his window.
Happy Thorsday, everyone!