Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reading The Descendants

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
The first book choice for our "Read a Book a Week" month is The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings.  It is a movie out on the theaters right now, and has been nominated for numerous awards; most notably the Oscar's for Best Picture, Best Leading Actor, Best Director.  I first heard of it as a movie, and have been drawn to go and see it, although I have not.  I thought maybe the draw was the fact that it is set in Hawaii, given our dark and rainy winter days here in Seattle.

Turns out, not only am I taken to the islands as I quickly read page after page, but I am also taken right into the King family.  I love the main character.  He reads as being honest about his flaws, admittedly lost in his life as it unexpectedly unfold before him and human.  The family is far from "perfect", even with all their money and beauty and the perks that those things can bring.  Things I sometimes wish I had, a pool, a house on Oahu, the beauty of a model.  Things that admittedly, I think would make life "perfect."

I find it refreshing to read a book about a family that is what it is.  A family with kids that act out and say things they aren't supposed to say.  And while there are some things about their life and behaviors I don't desire for my own, I find them all endearing and lovable.  I'd say the author has done her job well.

I wouldn't say this book is filled with lyrical prose like I have found in All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy or the last book I read, A Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.  Those books were at times slow, but there were those sentences or paragraphs that lifted my heart and senses with the author's artistic skill.  Leaving me in a moment of connection with all that is, opening and connecting with life itself.  I know, that's some powerful shit right there.  And all from reading.

The difference, to me, in Hemming's writing so far is that I haven't come across any of those sentences that give me rise from the mundane of my everyday existence.  However, of equal importance, is the fact that she accomplishes that same effect overall.  It is through the dialogue, through the inner dialogue of the main character and through the way the characters bear the pain of avoiding being fully alive to the cruelty of life.

It is the dawn of the fourth day of the first week of our reading challenge.  I am happily 133 pages into my  283 pages book.  I have 150 more pages the I am eagerly looking forward to.  I feel like I am cheating by reading this book.  It is so easy to read, so engaging.  But cheating or not, today I will read on!

Don't forget to click "Yes!" on our poll in the sidebar if you are joining us on the "Read a Book a Week" challenge.


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