So... one of the things that's been occupying my spare time lately, thus preventing me from writing blog posts (such as they are), is reading. When I pick up a book and start reading it, it's difficult for me to do anything else until I finish the book. Almost everything else that's nonessential gets pushed aside. Case in point: I still haven't quite finished doing my taxes yet, my spring cleaning remains half done, the weeds in the yard are in desperate need of mowing, and a baby blanket I started for my nephew's new daughter before Christmas is still unfinished. (See, Mom? THAT's why I don't read more!)
Last week, I finally finished a book that I borrowed from my mom and started reading back in October when we were visiting her. Once we got home, because I was busy with holidays and work and a million other things, I didn't pick it up again until a few weeks ago. It was a book my mom really liked. "Stick with it.... it gets good after the nun dies," she said. Honestly, I thought it was good from the start. The first few chapters set up the story and introduced the characters and their histories in an interesting and intriguing way. I just didn't have time to read and really get into it until recently.
I was enjoying the story until about two-thirds or so through it. Then it started seeming like things got put on fast forward, as if the author got tired of writing, or his publisher imposed deadlines or something. It seemed like in the beginning of the book, the writing was more detailed, scenes written more in-depth. As it progressed, I felt like it got ragged, with many aspects of the continuing story quickly glossed over and barely touched on. Toward the end, the story employed some really contrived, hackneyed melodramatic plot points, relying so much on coincidence that it became completely unbelievable. And I could see the major dramatic climax coming a mile away. I won't reveal the title of book... I really don't feel qualified to openly criticize an author and call him out on his work. After all, I've never written a book myself, and this blog sure ain't gonna land me any writing awards! Suffice to say that I was extremely disappointed after such a promising beginning, and after devoting so much time to the book, but that's just my opinion. My mom loved it, although she did say she was also disappointed with the ending.
"A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron. It's about a dog (obviously), and the story follows that dog through four lives as he is reincarnated, learning new things in each life. It's told from the point of view of the dog, and it's absolutely delightful! Yes, there are some sad parts... the dog DOES die three times after all... but it's easier to deal with that aspect because you know he'll be coming back in a new life on the next page. Some of the dog's observations are hilarious, and if you've ever loved a dog, you'll probably think they're spot on!
I didn't intend to read the whole book in one day, but it was so thoroughly enjoyable and engaging that I couldn't put it down. Some might consider it literary fluff, but I found it completely charming. Check it out, especially if you're a dog lover.