Saturday, July 10, 2010

Giving up on American Gods (#1b1t)

I really don't like to give up on books, but I think I have to give up on this one. I'm not a fantasy fan per se, but I'm not sure that's the problem. I feel like the book is not that well written and it's all pretty obvious. I only chose this book because I wanted to participate in One Book One Twitter. However, ss soon as I saw many of the tweets about the book, I was reminded of why I don't read popular fiction very much. I am an admitted book snob and have no time for obvious questions/comments, but I'm not so horrid a snob as to post snarky comments, at least. Although that might have made my reading of this book more fun. ;-)

I have given American Gods a real chance. I have read seven chapters, so I'm not giving up without a fight. I liked the first chapter and was completely surprised by the grotesque ending of that chapter, so I thought that this book was going to be very interesting and fast paced, but I think the book went down from there. Despite it being a fantasy, there's nothing really new here. Sure, I'm not familiar with all the gods presented, but I am too familiar with some of the motifs and symbols. (Are symbols and motifs the same things? I can't remember right now.) Black birds, gangster type men in black limos with tinted windows, light vs. dark, ambiguously good guys vs. bad guys, etc. Even most of the commentary about American society seems tired.

I think the last straw was the scene where Shadow is grabbed by some men in a black truck in a restaurant parking lot and then he's in what seems like an interrogation room being questioned about the gods. The two men, Mr. Wood and Mr. Stone, doing the questioning are wearing dark suits and have dark hair and shiny shoes. This scene just seemed and felt a little too Men in Black to me, and I've never even seen the whole movie. I did finish that chapter and read one more, but now I think that might be as far as I care to go with this book.

I'm kind of sad about giving up on this book because so many people, including friends of mine, really admire Gaiman's work, and I want to share in that admiration. So, I'm not giving up on the author completely. I'll try at least one of his other books before I give up on him altogether. And maybe I'll read another chapter of American Gods here and there and eventually finish it. I haven't removed the book to the bookshelf yet or even removed the bookmark from it, but I haven't picked it up to read in several days. I have read other things this week instead. I started three different books Footnotes in Gaza, Never Let Me Go, and Middlemarch. I'll probably finish at least two of those next week. So for now, I'll say goodbye to American Gods and One Book One Twitter. Later.


Anonymous said...

You don't say if you're school librarian for elementary, MS or HS, however, may I suggest you read Gaiman's "Graveyard Book" ? My fifth grader really enjoyed it...

Kim said...

I'm a librarian at a junior high, and The Graveyard Book is probably what I'll read next. I read the first few chapters of it just after it won the Newbery, but I gave it up when a student asked to check it out. Maybe I'll pick it up when I go to campus tomorrow.