Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Encountering mainstream fiction

Okay, so I did my first fiction review in years. It was mainstream fiction. Romance. Weirdly the characters felt familiar, as if I would know them if they were in my reality, and for that very reason I did not connect to them. Here is a case of reading a book about folks whom I kept thinking would probably have nothing to do with me.

So that was one hurdle to jump.

The other problem was that it was a romance with very little layers. Now, this is probably my issue. (yeah, another one...I'm full of issues) But I like layers. Not that I like things to be pretentious or trying to be deep but hey, I'm a poet and I want words to echo. I want meaning to resonate on a zillion levels. I do not want a story that is quite simply a story.

Other problem: the characters were living their regular lives. Marrying and giving in marriage. Partly from my Christian mentality (and the book was Christian, mind you, and from my love of spec fic, I just have no patience with normal folks attempting to live a normal life. True the book was Christian but these were Christians who weren't particularly alienated from their world. And, once again, I seem to always be identifying with the alienated and the outcast. I simply did not care about those people's normal problems. I like literature where folks change the world or survive it...so give me a memoir written by a girl who was formerly a sex slave, or give me the story of a warrior saving his world and I'm happy. Honestly, I'm the kind of person who would probably have sat at Jesus feet with Mary Magdalene, Mary, and St John. I totally scorn the world. And I'm a bitch about it. If someone asks me why I'm walking down the street beside a drug addict or a transvestite or a prostitute, my first answer would probably be, "Because Jesus would do it." Heck it tends to be.

And it's not even as if I am doing this to be some kind of pious person...I just truly dislike hanging out with judgmental folks who are totally aware of priority.

So then, why do I review a romance novel when the main focus of the typical mainstream romance novels is often to uphold American normalcy -- rich handsome guy?? And Christian romance? In which it's almost always about the good life of good people on an earthly Eden. ???

So then, is it sour grapes on my part? Have I so lost my patience with smug judgmental Christians that I am always on the verge of losing my patience? Am I being unfair, always on the verge of sniping at them? (Because they were sniping at me?)

Strangely, people tend to think that escapists love fantastical literature. But as I study myself I realize that this escapism is often mixed with a bitter annoyance with the world as it is. May God forgive me for my impatience. Chances are, I'm not going to change. It's one of those personal besetting sins of which I'm unduly proud.
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