Forgive the lapse of posts recently, but I just had my second child and life's been, um, busy. Hardly enough time to read, let alone write! But I have been meaning for weeks now to weigh in on the fuss about Jonathan Franzen and his new book.
To recap, Jonathan Franzen published a new book this summer and landed not only 2 NYT book reviews but the cover of Time as well. Then Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult got lots of press for protesting.
My take? I am firmly on their side. My reaction to seeing the cover, even before the #franzenfreude started, was "WTF, why does this dude get the cover of Time??".
I'm pretty tired of literary fiction by men getting all the attention. Case in point: nearly every book blog I read this summer gushed about One Day by David Nicholls. I got very tired of the pandering, and eventually angry, because I read it and HATED it. I thought the characters, particularly the male protagonist, were downright unlikeable. And other than a few comic scenes, the novel was dull, dull, dull - with a total cop-out of an ending. But everyone else was giving him the blog equivalent of a blow job.
Frankly, One Day is a pale imitation of a women's fiction novel, written by a man. It's a quasi-romance. It tries to get into the characters' heads. And in my opinion failed miserably. (I'll be honest - I'm not a big fan of Nick Hornby, either.)
And you know damn well that if One Day had been written by a woman... it would NEVER have gotten so much attention. I think that's what makes me the maddest.