Monday, February 20, 2012

Abandoned: The Confession

I know how he feels...
I've been told that in parts of the Arab world a husband can legally divorce his wife by declaring to her three times in succession the words "I divorce thee."  Whether this old law is still actually practiced anywhere, I don't know.  What I do know is that I must say something very similar to John Grisham's The Confession: I abandon thee, I abandon thee, I abandon thee.

There, it's official.  No more will I have to suffer through the boredom of page after page of the recitation of facts about death row and the implementation of the death penalty in Texas.  Nor will I have to force myself through page after page of a recapitulation of the fictitious trial transcript of one of the book's main characters, a young black man on death row for something with which he had nothing to do.  Enough, already!  I can't believe I forced myself to endure this kind of thing for almost one-third of the book.

I refuse to go on...and I feel better already.  Damn it, guys, in a novel I want you to show me, not tell me.  When such a high percentage of a novel's pages (especially whole chapters) do this kind of thing, I may as well be reading nonfiction - and nonfiction on the same subject is almost always better written than this kind of rote regurgitation of fact after fact.


  1. This post made me laugh a little. There are lots of wonderful non-fiction books on this very theme, too.

  2. And it's stuff that's all covered in other of his novels, unless you & I read the same one....nope, they had different titles, if not unique material. I made it through to the end of mine, but swore "no more Grisham for this reader".

  3. Right you are, James. Plus, as Debbie points out in the comment below yours, Grisham has pretty much beaten this dead horse to death now.

  4. Good point, Debbie. It's almost like this one was thrown together from research leftovers.