Monday, July 22, 2013

A Walk Across the Sun (4)

"If thou has not seen the devil, look at thine own self." -A Walk Across the Sun

I’m not going to lie, I wrote a review of this book with 100 pages to go and came thisclose to putting this book down and walking away. I’ll make sure it’s in here somewhere if you want to listen to a weird rant. I whined to my roommates about how I just wanted to walk away from the book. I had a snack. I sat down. And after three more pages I was riveted. Like, don’t-move-a-muscle-except-to-wipe-away-your-tears riveted.

Here’s my initial reaction: (100 pages to go)

This book was interesting but the writing felt very pedestrian after reading Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her. It felt long. I mean, I read Game of Thrones in a week. This felt long. I semi-lost interest two-thirds of the way through but kept plodding along because I couldn’t just abandon it. I got it from the library. I have to give it back. I have no problem abandoning books I actually own, which is weird now that I think of it. Shouldn’t I care more about the books I actually spent money on? Well, sure, but I got it for $3 at Half-Priced Books, so it’s not a complete loss.

A Walk Across the Sun is the tale of two sisters, Ahalya and Sita Ghai, orphaned after a tsunami in their native India and sold into the sex trade; and the man, Thomas Clarke who is trying to rescue them and fix his marriage. Chapters flip between Ahalya, Sita, and Thomas' perspectives with a slightly distorted timeline that left me a bit confused. I’m not dumb enough to be confused about if the current chapter happened before or after the previous chapter. I didn't get confused during Game of Thrones, did I? (No, I didn't) George R. R. Martin is the master at weaving all of those plot lines together, and he has approximately 1 billion characters to keep track of. Across continents. Get it together, Corban. 

The biggest problem with A Walk Across the Sun  was that I couldn’t feel what the characters were feeling. I felt more empathy towards Yunior*, and we all know how I felt about him. In fact, I care more about Cersei Lannister** then I do about these characters, and I hate Cersei way more than Yunior. The only character I’ve hated more than Cersei was Professor Umbridge*** and at least she got what was coming to her. More or less.

What I did like was that Addison explained the world to me. My last cross-cultural excursion made me feel relatively confused since I didn’t understand several of the words on each page, but Addison explained everything to me very concisely. At least he didn’t make me feel stupid.

It didn’t suck. But there are probably better books out there. Let me know if you need help finding one. I’ve found like 20 I want to read while procrastinating finishing this one. I may also just be ADD about how many books I want to read and not letting myself fully immerse myself in the story of the book. Perhaps if I had tried to savour this book instead of devour it, I would have liked it better.

After the last 100 pages
Yes, there was almost a hundred pages in the middle that were Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix painful. Yes, that probably means it was a bit too long. But the end was perfect. I cried. I won’t tell you if they were happy tears or sad tears or both but I like crying over books because I’m a masochist.

I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it.

*This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz – beautiful prose, horrible main character. Kind of like Cersei.

**Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin - get with the program. It will only take you between four months & two years to get through all five books, judging by the length of times it has taken me my two roommates. My friend Liz read the first book in 2 days, but she's crazy. It took me four months to get through A Feast for Crows alone, because of Cersei’s chapters. Stay strong my friends, it gets better.

***Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, J.K. Rowling - it is unforgivable that you did not know that. You just crucio-ed my heart.  And you don’t even know what that means

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