Another book I read a long time ago and just reread is The Grounding of Group 6. I broke my arm when I was 12, and, instead of having to go to PE, which I hated, I got to sit in the library by myself for an hour. Most of the books I read that month, like I know what you did last summer and teaching Mr. Tingle were made into trashy teen movies when the people my age got old enough to do it, but I never heard anyone mention this book and had wondered why not, it woudl make a great teen movie, until I ran into it at The Strand.
The story is about five teenagers whose parents send them off to be killed under the guise of sending them to boarding school and their hippie teacher. The premise is a bit farfetched, but teenager believable: MY PARENTS DO WANT ME DEAD!
I think what appealed to me then, as it does in most stories now, is an ensemble cast. It's why I like the X-men better than Spiderman. It's still not a bad story, not as suspenseful or as exciting as it could have been, and rather childish with the handling of sexual exploration, but a good idea.
Much less fun than i would have thought it would be to read. Not
The Golden Compass or anything. And it ends a little pat: if your parents paid a school to kill you, then you killed all the killers, but not your parents, them you just blackmailed into letting you stay in school, and you and your friends all neatly partnered up with opposites? and how realistic that they'd all perfectly like each other, other than what really happens: everyone likes the same boy or same girl, and that person plays with everyone's emotions. But this book wasn't about that: this was about emancipation from parents and their expectations.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Summer was the first book I ever read by Edith Wharton, back in my junior year in college. Somehow I’d missed the requisite reading of Ethan Fromme in high school. And I hated it. Yet another Madame Bovary like book about a woman falling from virtue and losing for it.
But now that The House of Mirth is one of my favorite books and she I s one o f my favorite e writers, going back to reread this book because I’m on an Edith kick gives me perspective. Everyone loves this book, the critics say, as did Wharton herself. But although it’s still well written in Edith style, it sucks. Her skills are best when eviscerating the posh new Yorkers she lived amongst, not satirizing the uneducated as she does here and in Ethan Fromme. This, and Ethan Fromme reminded me of Shopgirl by Steve Martin, a book so bad I threw it in the garbage because I didn’t want anyone else to ever read it. Condescending to its characters, Charity Royall, come on, Charity? With a woman so trash she gives her daughter up to a man as a sex toy?
Anyway, still the worst Edith Wharton book I have read, but short.