Author Topic: Book 3: I Don't Want to Kill You (some small spoilers)  (Read 526 times)

Recovering_Cynic

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Book 3: I Don't Want to Kill You (some small spoilers)
« on: June 21, 2011, 09:28:47 PM »
Ha.  I started to title this post "I don't want to kill you" but I was afraid you might be inclined to think I was threatening your life.  With book titles like yours, it can probably be difficult for you to know whether your readers have homicidal intentions--as I'm sure you've already figured out.

Anyway,  I hadn't talked to you in awhile and hadn't been on Time Wasters in forever, but I wanted you to know that I stayed up reading until 2 a.m. last night to finish IDWTKY.  I am barely functional at work, but that's okay.  I must say that I easily enjoyed this book the best of the three for multiple reasons.  First and foremost, it was extremely well written.  John was as engaging as ever, more so if you ask me.  The book was beautiful.  Odd to say that about a serial killer book, but it is true.

On a more personal note, I think I enjoyed this particular book more because I could relate to John in it.  You do well at making an unsympathetic character very sympathetic, which is a hard balancing act that you pull off to near perfection.  You have done so in all the books, but I think you one-upped yourself this time.   In my case, I was somewhat of a sociopath growing up, not because I had homicidal tendencies; I just was unable to relate to my peers or connect with them in any kind of meaningful way.  I tried.  I wanted to connect.  I did things that I thought would make them like me--worked hard for good grades, played sports, over-achieved with the best of them... not realizing that the likelyhood of connecting through any of these actions was doomed before it ever started.  Somewhere along the line, I figured out that I had to stop letting on that I liked school.  That helped a little, but not really.

But then, like John, my last year of high school a popular girl took interest in me.  I had no idea what to do about that--it scared the hell out of me--but unlike John (this is where the ability to relate ends), I was thrilled by this particular turn of events.  I was convinced she was insane, that the relationship was doomed to fail (which, ironically, doomed the relationship), and that some seriously bad karma was on its way to balance out my habitually crappy life.  The disconnect--the longing--that you captured in John's character, I could relate so very well to that, which means you did a great job.

In short, I could relate to John in this book on a very personal level... well, without the embalming and desire to maim and kill.  Other than that, it was a familiar walk down memory lane.

I was curious, did some of your childhood seep into this book?  I won't ask that about the previous two for fairly obvious reasons, but I was curious about this third one.  I heard a saying once that went something like, "all smart children are sad children".  I think it was from an introduction Orson Scott Card wrote to one of the editions of Ender's Game.  He was quoting someone, but I'm not sure who.  Anyway, the little over-achievers grow up and for the most part become happy functional members of society, but precociousness leads to some pretty hard times as a kid.  I know nothing of your childhood, but something about the way you write, the way you think, makes me suspect that your childhood was somewhat similar to my own.  Hard times.  Then again, my psychoanalysis might be way, way off.  Just curious.

Anyway, I mostly posted this to thank you for the John Cleaver books.  They left a very satisfying aftertaste in my mouth.  Praise where praise is due.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 09:39:42 PM by Recovering_Cynic »
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot