I'm currently reading Look At Me by Jennifer Egan. I was stuck in Chicago with nothing to do for the hour before the train left, so I found a bookstore. Nearly everything was 50% off, which I like, which means I'll have to go back to support that bookstore (even when they're not having a sale). They were located in a smallish space, so the books were crammed together. I promptly forgot every book I was planning on reading. Normally when I'm in a bookstore, I let the covers attract me. Yeah, yeah, platitudes aside, how else am I going to find a book? I'm not going to read the back covers of every single book in there. Anyway, I walked back and forth along the fiction wall about 5 times; my eyes glazed over and the individual books became one big mass of FICTION YOU MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE READ. I honestly couldn't remember a single author whose stuff I wanted to read more of (of course, I remembered Dave Eggers and David Sedaris, but I've read all of their stuff, so that didn't help). I was looking at the Dave Eggers section for the hell of it, and Look At Me was found right next to it.

I picked it up and read the back cover. It mentioned David Lynch, who I like, so I figured it couldn't be bad. It's about a supermodel who's in a car crash, and she has to get reconstructive surgery on her face, and no one recognizes her anymore; it also follows a couple of other characters, with the central theme being something about looks, I guess. The parts about the supermodel are told from a first person POV, which I generally don't like, unless the narrator is also an author, or unless the real author does a good job at changing his/her natural voice.

See, authors write because they feel a natural connection with language; they know how to manipulate it to achieve beautiful turns of phrase that convey a precise meaning. When an author writes a book from a first person POV, and does so without considering the fact that authors use words differently from the average person, the character by default uses a prose that is too flowery and intelligent. I don't believe the character of the supermodel; she describes things in a manner that's too ornate, too enlightened, too perfect.

Also, on a level that seems somehow less valid, many of the plot elements just seem so unbelievable. Suspension of disbelief, blah blah blah, I don't care.

Bottom line, I guess, is that I'm halfway through this book, and I don't know if I'll ever get around to finishing it. Good thing I only paid $7 for it.

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