Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Don't explain your jokes

Part of my Christmas present from dh and the boys was a few books. Since I have a large to-be-read stack I didn't get to them right away. I'm going to pause here to say that as I was typing that last sentence my fingers hit something sharp and odd feeling. I looked down and noticed the keyboard was littered with Lee's fingernail clippings. Disgusting. Back to the post. Last month I read one of the books they had given me. It was Three Cups Of Tea, which I loved. The other night I was in the mood to lay in bed for a few hours and fall into a good story. One of the other books they had given me was The Sign Of The Cross.
I was a little worried when one of the blurbs said something like 'The Da Vinci Code on steroids'. I did read The Da Vinci Code. The writing wasn't excellent but the story was engaging and the characters were good. The movie was better. Since I am not a book snob I will read almost any genre and can find good points in most books. So I shrugged and started the book. The story is compelling and the characters, while stereotypical, are developed. The writing kept jerking me out of the story though and that is one thing that drives me crazy. Kuzneski started sentences with anyway enough to remind me that he was telling me a story. Then he kept explaining his jokes. If you have to explain a joke you didn't do a good job of telling it, or you don't trust your audience to be intelligent enough to get it. For instance, at one point they are in a crypt and when asked what she sees a girl responds 'I see dead people'. I laughed. In the next sentence the author points out that this is a reference to The Sixth Sense. I cringed.
The next day I wast talking to Fria Chica about the book. I couldn't figure out how the same people who picked out Three Cups of Tea had picked out this book. Later when Lee noticed the book beside my bed he pointed at it and said. "Dad picked out that book. I picked out Three Cups Of Tea, which did you like best?." Mystery solved.

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