Craig Dube's Reviews > The Other

The Other by David Guterson
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's review
Aug 09, 12

bookshelves: fiction
Read from July 11 to August 09, 2012

I believe the title of this book is the answer to a question many may have had leading up to choosing this book. When faced between having to read this book or another one, choose the other.

*spoilers below*

I found this book boring, pretentious, long-winded and meandering. The author certainly has a good vocabulary and he's not afraid to use it. My nook got plenty of work looking up words as I read along. The story goes on and on and nothing really happens. The plot can be summarized in just a few sentences: a rich boy meets a middle class boy in high school and they become friends. The rich kid becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the world and wants to abandon it. Eventually he does live, living in a remote part of the Northwest, occasionally visited by his friend who brings supplies. The rich kid dies, the friend tells no one but his fiancee. That secret lives on for some 20 more years, when the body is found. The deceased willed his $440M fortune to the friend. The friend continues to visit old bookstores.

There's a little bit more to it (friend meets woman who will be his wife, rich kid has crazy and somewhat uncaring parents) but it is so long in the telling that I could never find myself caring about anyone. A perfect example of this comes in the later chapter when the friend is speaking with his long-deceased friend's father and the father is recalling how awful he and his wife were as parents. You immediately get a sense of where the story is going but the telling goes on for the entire chapter. Nothing of interest happens and yet the story goes on.

I read this book b/c it was selected as our book club's pick for the month. One of the advocates for this book, proclaimed it was real literature unlike past selections. I'm grinning now just thinking about how that discussion will turn next week...
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