Squawk Radio

Saturday, April 01, 2006

“You’ve GOT to be kidding!”
CONNIE BROCKWAY NAVIGATES THE MINE FIELD OF FRIENDS' RECOMMENDATIONS




I wasn’t intending to write this blog. I intended to write the Saturday book blog on The Lamplighter, but that will have to wait for some future Saturday because this week I read a "different"book.


Don’t ask me the title, because the Squawk Policy is “no book shall be trashed on Squawk Radio” and if ever I was tempted to dis a book it was this one.

Okay, this comes as no surprise to any of you, but there are bad books out there. Terrible books. Books without any character development, no movement, no themes, stale dialogue, interminable descriptions... Stop me. I’m having a flashback to that book and it’s not good. So, if I’m only going to whine in a vague and unconstructive manner, why am I bothering to blog about this? Because, my friends, the reason I read this book in the first place was because it had been suggested to me by someone I not only like, but whose opinions I have often found myself sharing. Someone I felt confident would recommend a book I would like or, at worst, find mediocre. Not so. I loathed this book. My friend adored this book (along with about a billion other people.)

How can this happen? How could my bright, sensitive, savvy friend have enjoyed such an unmitigated piece of crap? When had she lost all powers of discrimination? (And yeah, I hear you, Terri: “When she became you friend?" Look in the mirror, dear)

Anyway, I was so intrigued by her break with good taste, that I called her up and asked her about it. Imagine my surprise when she responded in amazement and dismay, exclaiming, “My darling Connie—”

Okay, she didn’t call me ‘darling Connie.’ In my mind, all my friends call me ‘darling Connie.’ It’s my mind. They call me what I want them to call me there. But I digress. She said,

“My dear intelligent friend,(see above) how could you have failed to appreciate the wit and subtle interplays between the main characters, the laugh-out-loud subtext involving the protagonist and the opera star? The universal themes of alienation, poignantly underscored by the laugh-riot of physical humor?”

Or something like that.

Then she finished by saying,. “When did you lose all critical abilities?”

Needless to say, I was stunned by the huge chasm separating our opinions of this book.

We stayed on the phone discussing whether it was brilliant or a piece of crap for another twenty minutes. At one point I suggested we arm wrestle for the final decision but she declined, saying that arm-wrestling was no way to judge a book. Personally, I think she was just chicken.

Now, I have impeccable taste. Not only in books but in movies. Still, there have been times when I have picked up the phone only to hear some friend shriek that I owed her eight bucks for some movie I’d recommended. In fact, if you strain your ears, I believe you might still be able to hear the distant echoes of Eloisa’s husband’s outraged screams (Really. Who doesn’t think TERMINATOR is one of the most glorious love store to ever unfold on the silver screen? Alessandro. But he’s Italian so I’ve forgiven him.) And there is the midnight call from Doodah who asked me, without preface, if I was smoking crack because that was the only possible explanation she could come up with as to why I had told her to race right out and see BUBBA HOPTEP ( I still can't imagine how a child of mine could fail to appreciate irony.)

How about you? Have you ever found yourself hating a book or movie others loved. Did you hold your peace or, like me, is holding your peace just not in your hardwiring? Ever make a recommendation only to regret it later? Tell me. Tell me all.
Connie Brockway, 11:40 AM
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