This is another book I was forbidden from reading. Too scared to see the movie, I eventually was able to read it surreptitiously at the library, whereThis is another book I was forbidden from reading. Too scared to see the movie, I eventually was able to read it surreptitiously at the library, where my mother worked and I would spend hours after school. Bone-chilling....more
I still remember my mom forbidding me to read this book after I bought it without her permission. So, years passed and it sat on the shelf, unread. WhI still remember my mom forbidding me to read this book after I bought it without her permission. So, years passed and it sat on the shelf, unread. When I finally got up the courage to read it....holy shit, it was scary. I will never look at clowns the same way again....more
I read this book a number of years ago and what little memory I have of it is not good. I seem to remember a lot of sex that was roughly correlated wiI read this book a number of years ago and what little memory I have of it is not good. I seem to remember a lot of sex that was roughly correlated with the trauma and intensity of car crashes, a fetish which should be relegated to some decrepit sex column written by an aging pervert, not an entire novel. It's extremely long-winded and repetitious and honestly, if the topic of sexual perversity shocked you in the beginning, by the end you will be literally unflappable. I wish people would stop analyzing this book in depth, because it's lacking in anything closely resembling a human emotion or feeling....more
Flannery O'Connor has such a gift for writing short stories, I take back what I said about her after reading Wise Blood. You know how some stories areFlannery O'Connor has such a gift for writing short stories, I take back what I said about her after reading Wise Blood. You know how some stories are so permeant to your senses, that you can almost smell the perfume the character is wearing or visualize the scene as if you were watching a movie? That's kind of what this was like, except I felt like these stories were being told to me by a wise older Southern relative, while we were sitting on porch swings, sipping mint tea or straight up whiskey, my ears burning with embarrassment, my eyes widening in stages, until they were straining in their sockets.
Creating memorable characters, I suppose, is Flannery's trademark, and there are a whole host of strange but true people to choose from. Like the girl with a wooden leg who also has her PhD in philosophy, the Bible salesman who doesn't believe in God, and an aging general in a wheelchair. I sort of felt like I was watching an episode of the Jerry Springer show minus the chair throwing and fighting.
The stories to quote a line from the description on the inner sleeve of the book, "each with its climatic moment of human weakness", place the characters in moral dilemmas whose complexity seems to have been engineered by God himself, where their moral turpitude, or lack thereof, is tested, and a bigger picture of humanity, and humankind, is laid out before us.
Since this book was my first stab at Flannery O'Connor, I had virtually no preconceived notions before reading this, other than the expectation that iSince this book was my first stab at Flannery O'Connor, I had virtually no preconceived notions before reading this, other than the expectation that it would be some sort of horrorshow set of effects, complete with porch-dwelling dueting banjo players, designed to either (1) scare me into never visiting the South or (2) make me want to visit the South more, but only in well-populated cities in the daytime, where it would not be likely that I'd be chased by pitchfork wielding farmers.
What I realized after reading this, was that while I can appreciate a novel heavy with religious symbolism, there was something a little OVER THE TOP about this. Now I know the whole purpose of the Southern Gothic novel is to present the grotesque, whether it be situations or characters, which are completely exaggerated for effect, but the problem here is that I found the characters, for the most part, completely unlikable. For instance, Enoch Emery-in the beginning, I actually felt pity for him. Like, hey, here's this poor, lonely kid who's trailing Hazel around like a lost dog, because he's so excited that someone, anyone is willing to engage him in conversation (even if that conversation basically consists of the person on the receiving end telling you to fuck off). Enoch is so pathetic, even the waitresses at the local restaurants are repulsed by him-and they get paid to be nice to people! However, by the end of the story, when he's breaking into museums to steal a mummified child who he believes is the "new Jesus", I had to start doubting his credibility. And not really liking him so much anymore.
And Hazel Motes, well, I feel like someone who supposedly had this religious fervor like an aura surrounding him, would be a little more passionate maybe? Like, perhaps he wouldn't be so one-dimensional-I get that he's serious, it's religion after all that we're talking about, but couldn't he get a little more worked up? Maybe get some snakes in on the action, quote a few phrases from the Bible, oh, that's right he renounced God, so that might not work.
There were moments in the book, which were darkly humorous and entertaining, despite the subject matter, as if the author was making a little last-ditch effort to humanize the characters that, for me, seemed like wooden cut-outs of actual people. For example, "Where the blind can't see, the lame don't walk, and the dead stay that way"- that's a perfect slogan for a church! Or "'Twas like where you're from weren't never there. Where you're going doesn't matter. And where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it!"
I felt empty at the end….like I just spent a lot of money on something that I didn’t need, but seemed really cool in the ad and, unfortunately, failed to fulfill its promise. This is definitely not a life-changing book, but maybe worth a read if you want to say that you read Flannery O’Connor. I am not really sure if that will impress anyone, but I’ll try it and let you know. ...more