Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just A Perfect Blendship

Sometimes I am reading a book, and I just don't like it. That was the case for me and "Jack Holmes And His Friend. I have wanted to read this since I saw the Times (rave) review, and I thought the topic was so interesting, it centering on a friendship between a gay man and his straight friend. The book started out fine, when the main character Jack Holmes, moves from the Midwest to Manhattan. We get a glimpse of Manhattan in the 60s (and it was kind of interesting for me since I just finished 'Just Kids' which covered, more or less, the same era) and it was interesting to see their friendship flourish. After a while, though, the friendship rang false and shallow for me. Something happens (a bathroom incident) and they fall apart around the same time that Will, the straight friend, marries Alex, Jack's best friend. The book then fast forward to nine years later, where they accidentally see each other again, and they rekindle their friendship. The narrative also shifts to Will's first person, and it became so uninteresting for me that I almost gave up on it. This maybe a personal choice, but I would have preferred to hearing Jack's voice, self-loathing though it may be. I think I just didn't like both characters - they were miserable most of the time, and I just did not agree with most of their life choices. It could also be a generational thing. Still, White's elegant prose is beautiful to read. It sounded and felt like "literature." I really wish I liked it more. There's a part of me that wants to re-read it sometime in the future, maybe I just missed some nuance, maybe I need a little more life experience.  As small aside: I loved the cover above, it is so 70s, and I even think I know that exact spot, somewhere on park Avenue in the high 40s. Though, curiously, the UK cover is quite different, see below (BC-23)

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