Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Review--Men in Black

So, let's say you were trying to make it as an author and you were struggling.  Few were buying your books. Your family has to eat, so you start writing something using another name. A reason, if not the main reason, for using the other name is that what you were writing to make ends meet was nonsense and embarrassing. You did not want to associate the real you with a bogus message.

But what happens is that the book you wrote as someone other than you, sells like hotcakes. And the non-you becomes in great demand for interviews. You parade around the country as someone who is not you--continuously confronted with the fact that who you really are is a failure and who you are not is a success.

Do you reject who you are and become this person who you are not?  And if you do glom onto the lie, do you forever skid away from your emmess, your truth, and inevitably detour and suffer a series of accidents?

I've now read two books by Scott Spencer neither of which are those identified as his masterpieces, and I am hooked. And depressed. This second one, Men in Black, while having an ending just a bit too tidy for me, is hanging around like gum on my shoe.

Am I a liar?  Are we all liars who have traded in our emmess for what might sell.  And has this infected us if not irrevocably, inevitably.

I once heard a political speech live, and then overheard two listeners nod their heads at each other and say almost simultaneously, "Can he speak!"

Well, Spencer can write.  Excellent ability to describe and capture moments. Even minor characters are depicted in a way that makes them seem very real.  As I wrote above, I think the end for these characters might be different, as in quite a bit different, than the ending of Men in Black would lend you to believe.

Still an excellent read.  Of course, you might spend a day or two--or longer--after you finish the book wondering if you have skidded away from who you are and spent too much time as an imposter for the sake of what might be selling at the time.

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