Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2004
Dear Diary:

When we were in Montreal last week I cruised some used bookstores and on a whim picked up Richard Russo's book Empire Falls. "New York Times Best Seller! Pulitzer Prize Winner!" the cover trumpeted, so I figured I couldn't go wrong.

Well, it kept me up until 2:30 a.m. last night because I had to see how the story ended. This was especially annoying because parts of the book really ticked me off. I'm not particularly fond of books that have a settling of scores feel about them, which this one did. Everyone who messed up the hero's life or the life of his plucky young daughter got hit by a buttload of smite as the book wound down.

As if all the smiting wasn't annoying enough, there was an insane amount of foreshadowing I think the fact that the plucky young daughter had a box cutter type knife in her backpack was mentioned about 4 bazillion times by the three bazillionth time I felt like screaming, "I REMEMBER. SHE HAS A BOXCUTTER. I GET IT THAT YOU'RE GOING TO PUT HER IN A SITUATION WHERE SHE'S GOING TO NEED IT. SHUT UP ALREADY ABOUT THE KNIFE AND GET BACK TO THE STORY."

Excuse me while I wipe the flecks of foam away from my lips. There. I feel much, much better.

The poor spousal unit had to sleep with a pillow over his face to block out the light while I was reading last night. This morning at breakfast he enquired about the book, curious about what could be compelling enough to keep me up many hours past my bedtime. He's not much of a one for reading fiction, so I gave him a plot summary, including a list of the smitings.

I came to the final big smite. "Oh, and the really evil woman? She drowns, and as we last see her, her lifeless body is about to plunge over a really steep dam. Her cat, Timmy, who used to always scratch or attack the hero is riding the body and Timmy is poised to die a horrible, painful, death."

There was a reflective pause while the spousal unit digested the convoluted plot plus all the various smitings of the bad people.

"Did he have to kill the cat?" the spousal unit asked, plaintively.

Yep, the spousal unit had no problem with the author arranging to have all the villains in the story hit with a buttload of divine vengeance, but not Timmy the evil cat.

The funniest part of this? That was exactly my reaction to that part of the story. The evil woman drowning? Pffffttttttt serves her right.

But TIMMY?

Omigawd, what sort of depraved universe doesn't give Timmy a second chance to reform herself (yes, Timmy was a girl), to become the kind of cat we all know she could be if she only went to the right home instead of living with an evil woman?

Huh?

HUH?

Maybe there's some sort of sequel to Empire Falls. Maybe Timmy didn't actually drown after going over the dam and was instead rescued from the flooded river by a cat lover who, through patience and affection, helped Timmy become the kitty we all know she could be.

Yeah, that's the ticket. There. Now I feel much, much better about this book, eh.

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 848.6 miles.
Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.25 per cent thereTen percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.25 per cent thereTen percent there rubber duck.
Oh man. This is going to be hard
Goal for 2004: 1,000 miles - 1609 kilometers

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