Friday, January 30, 2015

Fiction Friday 35

With all the chaos that came recently due to the move, holidays, change in work schedule, and the expected baby, my reading time had been greatly diminished over the past few months. But I'm not going to completely blame the events of my life for the ungodly slow pace at which I finished the book that I'm reviewing today. I started reading this five hundred page book early in the Fall and knew pretty early on that it wasn't my kind of book. But I'm sort of compulsive about finishing a book once I start reading it. You never know when a piece of fiction will surprise you. This one kept surprising me, but only by getting slightly worse every time I thought it to be impossible. I don't really like posting negative reviews, I believe in the decency of not saying anything if you don't have anything nice to say. But sometimes you need to warn people away, plus you need to establish your aesthetic if anyone is going to take your opinions seriously.

Commonwealth by joey goebel
(MacAdam, 2008)

The quote on the cover of this book, from Tom Robbins, reads "Joey Goebel is a born writer, one of those fated orginals...", which should have been enough for me to stay clear. As it turns out, it was a fitting quote from a fitting author, since my dislike for the writing was on par with my dislike for Tom Robbins' writing. This book believes it's being incredibly quirky, subtly subversive, and profoundly honest, when really it fails in all of those endeavours.

The story follows the events of a privileged family over the course of a summer that will change all of their lives. Set in the nonspecific middle American town of Bashford, this is supposed to be representative of some mythical Main Street America that doesn't exist anywhere but in the past and political speeches. In fact, this entire novel revolves around a simplistic interpretation of Bush era political rhetoric. While I'm sure it thinks it's being clever, the story reveals only surface level observations through its dull, one dimensional characters who behave in extremely predefined ways.

Not funny enough to be satire. Not deep enough to revealing.

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