Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Theft : You get what you pay for

I don't normally not finish a book. If I pick one up, I'm usually good to go. Even if it's poorly written (ahemTwilightcoughcough). Even if it's a gazillion pages long (Sacajawea). Even if it's beyond cheeseball (you know the ones...the novel equivalent to Cosmo magazine).

There have been only three books in my entire life I've never been able to finish: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - kept falling asleep on it for some reason. Sorry Mr. Twain.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin - it's not even a long book; I don't know why I couldn't ever get into it.
And some coming of age self help get to know your body type book my dad gave me years and years ago. That one might be self explanatory.

And then I picked up The Art Thief by Noah Charney.

Oh. My. God.

It's awful.

As I was checking out at Borders the other day, the cashier said they were giving away free books if you make a purchase. So I browsed the selection...and lemme say, there is a reason they're having to give away those books. But I was like, FREE BOOK! Free! Who turns down free? Plus it's a book. I've rescued books from trash cans. I was determined to get a free book any which way. I picked up The Art Thief, read the inside cover and thought it'd be ok. I mean, it's a mystery story about art. Score.

Well.

I came home and gave it a shot. It was a little rocky at first, but I kept telling myself that was just the introduction. It'll get better soon.

Then this little gem on the top of page 10: A female character, on the phone arguing over the validity of a work of art on which she's an expert, says "No, it's not my time of the month, I ... but, I ... yeah, well I hope you get royally fucked in the ..."
No really. He couldn't write in "ass" after using "fucked?" And really? "It's not my time of the month?" Really?

But I kept going. I guess I should've known better. Oh well.

This is the paragraph that sealed the deal though on page 47 (47 out of 290. 47!):
This is the main character, an art expert who jets around the world helping various police agencies solve art thefts. Here he's giving a lecture about his work...

"People do not commission the theft of works of art they have never seen, or seen only once. They fall in love with specific works and wish to own them. It is a love affair. As you might pursue a beautiful woman whom you've seen on the street, art theft is the equivalent of seduction and conquest. Beautiful art, like beautiful women, provokes desire. A desire to possess and be possessed, a yearning to have created, a sense of peace and majesty, to hold this sublime proof of the existence of God, who must be great indeed to have created a thing of such beauty. In this manner, if you'll forgive the analogy, the patron is soliciting a prostitute; the beautiful whore is the work of art, and the thieves who provide her, the pimps. If you think of the art in terms of beauty bought-and-sold to the highest bidder, this analogy seems less ludicrous."

Ok. So let me get this straight. People fall in love with certain works of art, so they want to own them, and are willing to steal or pay high prices for someone else to steal them. Totally understandable. I don't think that really needs an analogy. ESPECIALLY one that totally contradicts the principle. And one that is UNBELIEVABLY SEXIST. Geez. Seriously Noah Charney? This is what you want to be known for? Horrible writing, even worse characters, and a book that I don't even want to read even though it was free?

Sigh.

I know it's just a book. I know these characters are fictitious. But still.

1 comment:

okgoods said...

HAHA! Hilarious! Sucks you had to read all of the way to page 47 before jumping ship.

It's not my time of the month, but bad books piss me off too.