Thursday, 5 April 2012

76/111 - In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

I bought this book a while ago, and have only recently gotten around to reading it. I bought it after I had read Andrew Kaufman's All My Friends Are Superheroes, and absolutely loved it. A colleague of mine at the time recommended a couple of other slim novels of a similar feel - little hidden gems, I guess, and so I bought them. One of them was Fup, by Jim Dodge, which I read around a year ago, which was also kind of weird and funny. This was the third one he recommended to me.

I began reading it without really knowing what it was about, the back sounded sort of Douglas Coupland-ish and I had fairly high hopes considering how much I had enjoyed the other two. I could NOT finish it. Hated it. I had a look on Amazon to see what other people thought of it, and it has shitloads of rave reviews about how incredible and life-changing this book is. Really? I'm seriously guys, I could barely make it past the halfway point.

The book seems to be about a nameless kind of dude who lives in a weird world, much of which is made of watermelon sugar (I looked up 'watermelon sugar' on Wikipedia and Google, and it's not a thing), and I think he's having some sort of affair. There is a group of people and they all live sort of communally I guess? I don't know, I didn't reach the end. I guess it's a metaphor of some kind, but it didn't really say anything to me.

There are a lot of books I can think of that have a similar sort of feel to this, like Light Boxes by Shane Jones, for example. It's also told in this very detached style, but the narrator didn't come across as such a boring fuck. I really felt like it was trying too hard to be nonchalant, and yet meaningful, like, 'yeah whatever babe, I'm deep but I don't give a shit'.

Because of all these rave reviews and the cult following, I feel like I might be missing out on something, but it's not the first time a supposedly amazing book has disappointed me - I also couldn't stand reading Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I've tried to read it two or three times, thinking that perhaps I haven't been in the right frame of mind to like it but I haven't had any success so far. Maybe I'll try both of them again one day, but for now I have bigger and better things to get on with.

Next: Feminism: A Very Short Introduction by Margaret Walters

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