Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Book Review, Of Sorts

I have recently rediscovered my local public library. When I was a kid I used to spend whole days there in the summer, but then the library moved. Now, instead of the big cozy room with dark wood shelves and a fireplace flanked by overstuffed chairs, it is a sandstone and glass monstrosity, well lit by windows and recessed fluorescent lights, with a bank of computers and no shelf higher than eye level. And a community room, complete with a kitchen which permeates the building with the smell of burnt coffee and the latest benefit pancake breakfast. It's a horrible and plastic version of what it used to be, like Kenny Rogers's face. Even the chairs in front of the new (gas or fake?) fireplace are hard and uncomfortable. And the children's section, once a room all it's own down a short flight of stairs, is now in the same atrium-like room, right next to the counter, ensuring a no-fun librarian-shushing time for all. Combine all of this with the fact that this is a small-town library with next to no selection anyway, and you'll see why it fell out of my favor for a decade or so.

But anyway, a couple weeks ago I had a hormonal breakdown and stormed out of the house in a huff. I went for a walk and ended up at the library, wondering if perhaps they might actually have Darkly dreaming Dexter in stock, a book I'd only seen the title of before. I like the show "Dexter" and hidden amidst the credits are the words "Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay", so I thought I'd check it out. It turned out that they had it, and the next 2 books in the series. The first book, although seemingly about the same thing as the television series, has pretty much been bastardized by Hollywood. Don't get me wrong, I like the show. But if you're thinking that you can just read the book to see what's going to happen next week, like I was, then just give up now. After the second murder or so, the two storylines branch off from each other in what can only be described as a T intersection. As for the next 2 books in the series, they're good, but. . . .

Book three, Dexter In The Dark, brings too much unconnected stuff into the mix for my taste. No matter how literal Lindsay has been with the Dark Passenger, one can't help but see it as either a symptom of psychosis or as a metaphor for his urges. So, for the Dark Passenger to suddenly be granted independent thought and movement, to be explained as its own self-aware and separate being, just sort of changes the premise. Now we've gone from a glimpse into the charming mind of a functioning serial killer to a supernatural ghost story. I am, however, still looking forward to Book four, and sincerely hoping while I wait that it will be more like one and two. Let three stand on its own as an aberration, not serve as a turning point. Meanwhile, I'm off to the library. I think I'll rediscover Heinlein today.

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