Friday, October 07, 2011

Abandoned: House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home

A quick glance through it at the library a few days ago convinced me that House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home would be a wise choice for me.  After all, it is a memoir by a Southern writer who became a writer despite the obstacles thrown at him during his childhood.  I really enjoy reading memoirs, and I identify with Southern writers, so it seemed like a no-brainer of a choice.  Top it off with the revelation that the author's mother has a Cajun background - and I couldn't wait for it to work its way to the top of my TBR stack.

But I missed one little thing.  I see now that the book seems to be written entirely in the second person present tense.  It reads like something told by a mere observer of Mark Richard's life, not like something written by a man who is revealing the touching events of his own life.  I read the first ten pages of the book, all the time hoping that Richard would switch over to first tense as the book progressed and his narrator grew older, figuring that he was recounting events so early in his childhood that he only knew what was told to him by others about them.  As far as I can tell, however, the entire book is written this way.  By the end of page 10, I was so frustrated by the distraction of reading in second person present tense that I returned the book to the library on my way home from the office this afternoon.

I'm pretty sure there is an interesting, perhaps even a moving, story between the covers of House of Prayer.  Unfortunately, I am not going to experience it.  Has this kind of thing ever happened to any of you...something so distracting about a book that, despite really wanting to read it, you just toss it aside?


  1. I've long held that the second person present tense should be banned by constitutional amendment and Papal decree. It is pure evil.