Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Twofer Tuesday -- What a Character

Another week and my WIP is starting to fall into place. I've made some progress although I've got a second character, a woman, who is tough to get to know. I wrote a 1400+ word back story on her the other day. I thought I had something to go on until this morning when she told me she was a liar. And borderline psychotic. Oh, goody. Of course, she might be lying about that last bit.

Here's a bit from Dead Broke:

"Samantha used to tell me she was fine. It took me a long time to get that it really wasn't fine, it hadn't been fine for a long time, and if I didn't pull up my socks it might not ever be fine again."
#
I finally got around to giving The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger, Little, Brown and Company, copyright 1945) a second go.
I read it in school, Gr. 8 I think, and didn't care for it. I suspected I may  have been too young to truly get it them so I decided recently to try it again. After all I read The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird in school and didn't like them.  They are faves now with TKAM my favourite book ever  'sides the dictionary.
I am confident I now get The Catcher in the Rye.  It's a fine book, a classic, and deservedly so. But to tell the brutal truth, I still don't like it.

The writing style didn't appeal to me, and frankly, Holden Caulfield is kind of annoying. There I said it. He's a great character, Salinger did a wonderful job with him, but he doesn't do it for me.
I'm glad I read it again. I can articulate my feelings on it from a fresh view instead of  vague memories floating around from the 1970s. And I'm glad I don't feel obligated to to like something just because it's good.

Here are two from it:
"She was about as kindhearted as a goddam wolf. You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phony stuff in movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart."
#
Twofer Tuesday is brought to us courtesy The Women of Mystery.

12 comments:

David Cranmer said...

I'm glad to hear your WIP is falling in place and your two lines are exceptionally fine. :)

Holden is a tough character to like. I know the feeling of re-connecting with classics. I'm a diehard Hemingway fan (card carrying member and all that) and didn't really care for A FAREWELL TO ARMS. And that's an important book in his cannon.

messymimi said...

Bigger Girl loves TKAM, too. She is currently alternating it with an Agatha Christie and the Hitchhiker series. A child after my own heart.

David is right, you don't always like all the works of a favorite author. Shakespeare is fabulous, but Titus Andronicus is dreadful.

Leah J. Utas said...

David, "exceptionally fine." Nice one. And thanks. I have yet to read Hemingway. I don't know why I haven't yet.

Messymimi, I love the Hitchhiker's series. Haven't read any Christie yet. So much to read, and only two eyes and one brain to do it with.
You're right about not liking everything from a fave.

the Bag Lady said...

Hmmm, perhaps I need to re-read Catcher in the Rye, too. It's been a few years, but I vaguely recall.... err... nothing much about it.

Your lines are great, but I'm glad to hear you are a little wary regarding the lying character. One can never be too careful around liars.

Clare2e said...

For whatever reason the bit about "if I didn't pull up my socks" hit me best. I guess because I'm used to hearing other forms of similar-meaning phrases, so to have it be socks was great. I love the word 'socks.'

I didn't love Holden Caulfield yesterday or today. That type of character has trouble hooking me. I felt the same about Walker Percy's Binx Bolling in post-war The Moviegoer. Excellently written and concisely told- tight as a coinpurse- but I disliked almost everyone in it and resented being stuck with them. That existential search seemed cold and incurious to me.

CherylK said...

I never wanted to admit that I didn't like Catcher in the Rye. Glad to know I'm "normal".

That bit from Dead Broke is excellent. No surprise there.

Writing Without Periods! said...

There are a lot of "classics" I don't care for. Love hearing about your work in progress.
Mary

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, df Bag Lady. Good luck with the re-read.

Clare, the expression's been around forever. I can't recall how or when I last heard it.
Thanks so much for not caring about Holden Caulfield, too.

Cheryl, thanks for your kind words about my words. It's good to meet another who doesn't care for TCINR.

Mary, good. I've always said that just because it's a classic or important or art, I don't have to like it. And thanks.

Reb said...

I like your lines, but I really can't remember if I've ever read Catcher in the Rye. I think they had stopped forcing us to read particular novels then, but, it could just be that I didn't much like it.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Reb. If you did read it,then consider yourself blessed that you don't remember.

solarity said...

I read the first three pages of Catcher (in about eighth grade) when all my friends were raving about it, and said "Why do you like this?" And they said "You might like Franny and Zoey better." And I got about ten pages into that one.

Me, Salinger, bounce.

Somehow, I do not think I would bounce off Dead Broke.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

Leah J. Utas said...

Mary Anne, I totally hear you on Salinger. I have his "Nine Stories." I may have gotten through one of them. Good for you for stopping after few pages.
Thanks for your kindness re: my words.