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review 2015-08-28 17:03
Breaking up (with books) is hard to do
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

That's right.  My särbo (Ahh, Swedish.  "Living apart together."  Couldn't have put it better myself.) John & I did not finish this book.  We gave it a shot, but in the end, we had to say our goodbyes.   

 

I'm fairly certain this is the first book I have ever not finished.  I've set things down for a time before eventually returning to them.  I've never started certain books, even books I've personally requested, because I was afraid I might not like it.  "Better to miss out on amazing than to admit you didn't like it," I thought.  I like an unblemished record when it comes to knowing myself.  I've pushed myself to the brink of insanity to finish every word of absolute mystery rather than admit defeat.  Gulliver's Travels.  15 years between us and it still puts me in a bad mood.  I am a reader, not a quitter.  I'm sure if I just give it another try, things will get better, right?  I have never not finished a book.       

But here we are.  2015.  Decades into my relationship with reading.  And I did not finish a book. Please allow yourself a moment to experience the gravitas of the situation.   

 

Now let's talk about why.  But first, an aside on audio books.  This was our first audio book together, so we really weren't sure what to expect of the experience.  Would it be able to hold our attention?  Would we get bored doing nothing but listening for hours on end?  What if we wanted to have a conversation?  Is that even allowed during the listening of an audio book?  Eek!  As you can tell, our nerves were already on edge.  Our verdict on audio books is almost in.  We think we like them.  It helped pass the time quickly, we were both able to stay focused enough to keep track of the plot, and he even drove the car without major incident!  A rule has been set in place that a book may be and must be paused in order to converse. We listened to several more over the course of the trip.  All in all, a hearty 3/4 thumbs up for audio books.  

 

Back to this one...It was an historical fiction murder mystery told from the point of view of an 11 year old chemistry enthusiast.  

 

The good parts:  Lots of clues sprinkled throughout the story that tie in nicely together.  They help keep you holding on through "one more chapter" and give reason for the large cast of characters.

 

The not-so-great parts:  Large cast of characters.  Not nearly enough action to move the story along and keep everyone straight.  Too much "chemistry" not enough "fizz boom bang."  We expected the chemistry to be a more integral part of the plot line.  It was an audio book.  Therefore, we couldn't skim quickly the way we could with an ink-and-paper publication.  It also very much sounded like it was being read by an 11 year old girl.  A narrator can really be the make-or-break factor in an audio book.  This one, for us, was a break.  It wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't our favorite.                  

 

So, there you have it. I didn't finish a book.  One disc ended and we didn't put in the next.   And yet, my heart still beats.  I remember to breathe on a semi-regular basis.  I'm not even experiencing any crippling depression or guilt about the experience.  In fact, the whole thing has been rather liberating. 

 

I've decided a less-than-stellar book should be treated like a less-than-stellar significant other.  "Sorry.  It's not you.  I'm sure you'll make a wonderful book for the next person who checks you out."  I might even not finish another book soon!  Or two or three!  *deep breaths*  Golly, this is fun.  Look at all this new time I have to devote to books I'm truly connecting with. 

 

Best of luck with your own love/hate relationship with that book you aren't necessarily dying to return to.  Take my advice & don't be afraid to just walk away.  The sooner you do, the sooner you both can find your literary match. 

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