It's Not About The Writing
I make no claims at being a great writer, but I am a damn fine reader. It's probably the thing I do best in the world. I love to read. I have been devouring books for as long as I can remember. Because of this love for language, and this love for the written word I have, over the years, developed some pretty intense opinions and am willing to share them with just about anyone. All I can say is, you need to all be REAL thankful that no one chose a science fiction novel for book club this year. THAT would have been tragic.
I am actually a rather big fan of the memior. I love reading other peoples stories. I love people who can turn something ordinary into something extrodinary. Lance Armstrong didn't do that. I started reading this book with a very open mind. JP and Cameron were both very excited about it, and I adopted their enthusiasm. I was sure it had to be good because two people who I loved thought it was great. Yeah... um... not so much.
By the end of the first chapter I was in hell, and let anyone who would listen know about it. I often found myself on the phone with JP complaining about the lanugage in the book, the way the sentence structure made me sick, how inconsistant the tone was and what a crime against writing that was. I cursed Sally Whats-her-name again and again for letting this man produce such a poorly written memoir. JP would, no doubt, roll her eyes and tell me to "look past the language and get into the story." I would attmept to explain (to no avail I might add) that for me, the language WAS the story. But I was just told to stop being a snob and get over it.
That didn't happen. I couldn't stop looking past the language. More than that, the more I read the more I couldn't bring myself to like Lance Armstrong. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking, "Am I supposed to like him? Because I hate him. If I met him in real life I would probably be annoyed to dizzying levels by him." The arrogance that he pocesses, even when claiming humility, is mindboggeling. There wasn't one thing I liked about him. Sure, he beat cancer. Good for him. But I have close friends who have done the same thing, more valiently and beautifully than Lance did. I have watched chemo destroy the body of someone I love first hand, I have seen remission and surviorship and the rest of it with my own eyes. And what Lance is so painfully missing is grace. He is all piss and wind. I couldn't help but think that there were just much better ways that he could have handled the situation, better ways he could have treated people, and there MUST have been a better way to write this book.
Like Rebecca, you will not find me recommending this book to anyone. But if you would like a moving memoir about surviving cancer, please check out Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. There is a cancer survivor with grace AND writing skills... a WONDERFUL combination if you're going to WRITE A BOOK about surviving cancer.