So, I made a post a while back about doing at least one book a month starting… er, I think it was early February. Anyway, I am just a smidge late. Not due to lack of reading, quite the contrary, but due to the lack of reading books. I have torn through a lot of short stories, rules for games, and *ack* technical documents that are dry enough to cause my bottom sphincter to pucker like some kind of weird puckering-fish-thing from the bowels of the ocean… or something like that. Anyway (for the second time), I HAVE STARTED AND FINISHED A BOOK!!!
The Book: “Blackbirds”
Summary: Wow! This book once it has it’s black talons in you will not let you go. Miriam Black, the wonderfully self-destructive and deliciously broken protagonist, is amazing. I don’t think I have seen (or at times, literally felt) a character ever go through this much pain and suffering. Really, I cringed at times.
So, what did I like about it? I’ll start with the style. Mr. Wendig has a way with writing that uses fragments and structure combined in such a way that he matches the way a person thinks (notice, I didn’t say “what” a person thinks). I found that I could easily slip into the book and zip right on through it. I don’t do that very often, and I can’t remember the last time it was this easy. I would nail down twenty or thirty pages and not even realize it.
Everything about this book is visceral. From the descriptions of violence to the gentle touch of a hand, you can feel it. Also, the pain you are feeling seems to be equally laid out as physical, emotional, and psychic. For every physical right, there is an emotional left, followed up by a nasty psychic jab. You will get feel it. You will find yourself holding your breath.
Now, that isn’t to say that the entire book is about pain… it isn’t. Or, rather it is, but it isn’t just scenes of pain being inflicted for pains sake. Even concerning characters where that would be a tempting thing to say, it isn’t true. There is a reason behind why everyone is doing what they are doing. Every character has a reason for why they do what they do; for why they want to cause pain in other people. Or live on the pain of others. I am rambling now, so let me bring this back around.
Reading what I just wrote makes me sound like I love pain. In real life, I don’t. I’m a sissy-girl-whiner-baby when I get a splinter. But, in stories I love it! It’s the driving factor for everything. People don’t go after the person they love because they feel good, they do it so they don’t hurt (or get hurt). Most things in life are done to avoid pain. Only, Miriam doesn’t see that to start with. She is hauling ass, balls to the wall, pedal to the metal running down that highway of pain trying to feed off of it in hopes of drowning out her misery. She wants pain, and lots of it. And that is what sets this up to be a great transformation story. Not just for Miriam, but the other characters as well. Granted, a fair share of the transformations for other characters were rather terminal in nature, they were still transforming.
So, to mainly stop my rambling, go read the book. Check out some free associations I did while reading. Maybe those will give my rambling some de-muddling (or not).
Character I most wanted to see her matched up with: Spider Jerusalem
Cigarettes she smokes: Lucky Strikes, non-filtered
Outstanding question: Where the fuck did she get a hand grenade?
One last thought not about the book, but about the author and his writings: Chuck Wendig practices what he preaches. If you read his various posts and books about writing, you will see that he follows those same rules in this book. If you haven’t read them, do so. They are great ways to break out of a slump, not to mention highly entertaining.