Tuesday, January 13, 2015

You Lost Me At Hello

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Reviewed by Diane K.M.
My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

This book reminded me of that scene in an action movie when an older man performs a stunt, and then he mutters to himself, "I'm getting too old for this sh*t."

I am, indeed, too old to have any patience for this kind of sh*tty, self-indulgent writing.

I had wanted to like this book. I like the idea of having a voice like Lena Dunham in the world, telling a different story of womanhood. And I thought the introduction to this book was good. It had this quote:

"There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren't needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter. That personal writing by women is no more than an exercise in vanity and that we should appreciate this new world for women, sit down, and shut up."

I agree with that sentiment, however, I don't think that gives one license to then write drivel about a silly email you wrote to a boy, or about weird boyfriends, or all the times you shared a bed with a guy but didn't have sex, or your burgeoning interest in exhibitionism, or entries from your food journal, blah blah blah.

After a strong introduction, this book quickly became painful to read and I had to skim to get through it. It's a hodgepodge of essays that are fine for a blog, but it doesn't make for a compelling read in print. I cannot recommend this.

Knots and Crosses

Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus, #1)Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Girls are being kidnapped and murdered around Edinburgh and John Rebus is on the case. But what, if anything, do the disappearances have to do with bizarre letters Rebus has been getting in the post?

The mother-in-law of the owner of my favorite used bookstore has been on my ass for years to give the Inspector Rebus books a shot. When this one turned up during one of my semi-weekly visits, I decided it was time.

This slim volume packs quite a punch. As the first book in a mystery series, it has a lot of heavy lifting to do, which it does quite well. John Rebus left the SAS under mysterious circumstances and joined the police department. Fifteen years later, he's divorced with a teenage daughter and has large blank areas in his past. When the past comes knocking at his door, it's time to pay the piper.

John Rebus reminded me of a lot of detectives from the time Knots and Crosses was written, like Elvis Cole, for instance, but what he really reminded me of was a late 1980's version of Dorothy Sayers' shell-shocked aristocrat detective, Lord Peter Whimsey. Rebus' buried past lurks on the periphery of his day to day life with the Edinburgh PD, much like Lord Peter's.

Rebus has a lot baggage, from his stage hypnotist brother to his ex-wife and everything in between. He's a sad bastard in a long line of sad bastard detectives but has enough uniqueness that I'll be happy to visit him again in the future.

The mystery wasn't really solveable but I think Knots and Crosses was more of a setup book than anything else. Rankin's writing was pretty good. I think he did a good job of portraying cops as real people. I have to wonder if Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad was influenced by Rankin.

That's enough rambling. 3.5 out of 5 stars. I didn't love it but I liked it enough to want to read more books featuring John Rebus.

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