This is my first review of a book ever, so please excuse my mess. I also managed to read five other books before I found the time to review this one, so I’m a little lost in my initial agitation but really I had to wash the bad taste out of my mouth.
I picked up The Corrections in a determination to finish the best books of the decade last year, and guess what? I didn’t finish last year. Because I kept putting this book down with absolutely no interest in picking it back up again. If I was interested I am sure I could deeply analyze the structure of family, the deeper layers of personal anxieties that each character represents, the layers of metaphors and deeply flawed characters but I’m not interested. What I read, and what I didn’t want to read any more deeply into, was unlikable characters doing unlikable and frankly uninteresting things.
The book focuses on a Midwest American family, two parents and their three kids. The kids have moved away and deal with their own problems. I will try not to give anything away even though I wouldn’t recommend reading it.
I was honestly shocked at how well recommended this book was, but I guess to each their own. I found the writing distractedly metaphoric. There were several times I literally would read a line, put down my book, roll my eyes, maybe discuss with anyone around me at the time how silly this metaphor is, and then force myself to pick the book back up.
“Enid sleeps like a haiku” ok yeah sure, she sleeps in 5 7 5 parameters got it (You could argue he meant short burst but then the writing didn’t suggest that at all….she slept deeply and like the dead….no idea where haiku fits in)
“I want to push it down, like a nipple” ……..is this a thing people do that I am not aware of? Is this my problem? Should I have the urge if I see an errant nipple to push it down?
There was an interesting side plot which is far into the book and doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention or follow up it deserves involving the sister, Denise. It’s actually fairly humorous and engaging and shows that maybe if I had any interest in the characters that his writing wouldn’t have grated me so much. If this was a book entirely about Denise I might have had some interest, or maybe had I read it 10 years ago when my sympathy for white middle class men who complain about how hard they have it for 50 pages existed. As it was now, I kind of just hoped that there would be an unfortunate accident for the majority of the characters and I could focus all my attention on Denise and her very real struggles.
So, I clearly wasn’t a fan but a lot of people have apparently loved it, including Oprah. So I mean who do you trust more, some random person on the internet or Oprah and a bunch of respected award committees? You decide.