Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Bones, by Seth Greenland

First, let me say that I really hope that this book is made into a movie. It will be funny and edgy in that great Hollywood kind of way; Seth Greenland is a talented writer, good at the one liner and the film/lit reference, which always makes the reader, or viewer, feel smart and with it. I must admit that I am a tiny bit tired of the entertainment industry as entertainment: don't they already control the world and most of its content? That, however, is more a matter of my literary choices, and less a matter of the quality of this book.

That being said, I loved the first 3/4 of this book, and was frustrated by (surprise!) the ending. I had it pegged for the perfect vacation read, but I think it would hold up best if you read the very end just as your plane was landing, while you were filled with the sentimentality of exhaustion and longing that comes with the end of a trip.

Okay, plot. This book is about two friends, more or less. One is an extremely, if inadvertently, successful TV writer. The other is a very talented and moderately successful stand up comic. As the writer's star rises, the comedian's is setting. Jealousy ensues on both sides, as no one has quite achieved the life he envisioned. Fate pulls them back into the same orbit, and a series of poor decisions drives the story to its wacky conclusion. It's written in a sardonic, visual style. I pictured the whole story taking place onscreen.

What I liked about this book
: The characters are sympathetic, the writing is very engaging.

What I didn't like about this book: Tenses. For heaven's sake, don't mess with the tenses. I was unable, ultimately, to determine whether the author was using the present tense as a literary device, then deliberately switching to the past, or whether the publishers simply forgot to hire a copy editor. Either way, it was damned annoying.

The ending. Both the very end, and the penultimate journey. I think that if you are going to go that far over the top, and introduce a lot of bad guys and weapons and getaway cars, it's just not cool to get all rainbow-hued and sappy at the end.

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