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Tuesday, February 22, 2005 

It's Not About The Writing

I hate to admit it because I've been fighting it for as long as I can, but I can fight it no more. I am a snob. More than that, I am a LITERARY snob. There is no room in my life for genre writing, there is no room in my life for bad writing. This book was both. This book made me nearly suicidal. Yeah, it was THAT bad.

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.

Sarah, you make some interesting points as to why you don’t enjoy the book, the language? Really? I found so many other things disagreeable that the language was never really my barrier. We disliked the book for different reasons. I think I would have been equally turned off had Lance and Sally incorporated a Bronte-esq dialogue.

In an effort to avoid cattiness (something that comes to me quit naturally) I will refrain from commenting further on Cameron’s most personal subject choice for VSoM so far – Lance (who woulda thunk it?) I was offensive enough yesterday to cover the entire week.

I think the part that annoyed me the most was the only help I can see this Sally women giving Lance was to go through, highlight a couple of words a page and then use a thesaurus to find a bigger word that you KNOW would NEVER be something he would write.

The other part that annoyed me were the anicdotal tales that ended ubruptly and had NO MEANING WHAT SO EVER! Not to mention the brazen use of cliche. Seriously, the thing is there are a BILLION different ways to say something and he chose the way the EVERYONE has used a thousand times. The very least he could have done was ATTEMPT some origionality.

Sarah, why do you always have to sugar coat your feelings? Why don't you tell us how you REALLY feel? You crack me up...

Interesting. I didn't read it and don't plan on it.

A person who I have great respect for read it and said he seemed obsessed with winning races and that was it. It seemed to be his sole motivation for everything he did.

Plus, I can't stand those bracelets. Right up there with "support our troops" magnetic stickers

Proceeds are going to help people? Great. Why advertise it with a bright yellow band?

Matthew 6:1 "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."Those who donate and take nothing in return (let along taking crap that will just never decompose in landfills where they wind up in the next few years), now that is humility.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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