Since when did reading become something that was supposed to be easy and uncomplicated? Sure there's a place for so-called 'light' reading. That place is mostly in magazines, online, and even some books. But not everything is supposed to be a quick entertainment.
While the reviews of Life is But a Dream are overwhelmingly positive, I once again see myself pitted against the insatiable appetite for an action-filled plot that is easily digestible. The handful of readers who haven't liked the book seem to keep mentioning the 'slow pace' of which I expected. I've dealt with that one my entire career. I don't write books that ooze plot and I don't apologize for that. My books are about character and perception and language. Plot is secondary, just as plot is secondary to our thoughts in real life.
The one unexpected criticism that I've seen is that some readers have been turned off by the fact that the book forces you to actually think. They falsely confuse that aspect of the book with it somehow being confusing. I wonder how they would do with Gravity's Rainbow or Ulysses? Just because you have to pay attention, doesn't mean something is confusing. However, I guess this shouldn't have been so unexpected. But it saddens me that some people aren't willing to concentrate when they read. (And then have the nerve to publish a book blog!).
The truth is, some of us don't aim to write fiction, we strive to create literature. There's a difference. Not everything in this world is meant to be pure spectacle and entertainment. And when you pick up a book about a severe mental illness, can you really expect the story not to challenge you? If I didn't, would I really be doing my job?
This isn't a rant on negative opinions. I've said many times before that I actually enjoy a well-written critique of my writing. This is more of a sad observation on the state of reading and those who profess to cherish the activity, yet don't want to do the heavy lifting.