Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

In Robert Goolrick's debut novel, A Reliable Wife, the reader witnesses the coming together of two extremely twisted and tortured souls. Ralph Truitt, a very rich but emotionally damaged man, is looking for (You guessed it!) a reliable wife. Catherine Land, a mysterious woman with a sordid past, answers his call and as the reader soon discovers is something all together different from what Ralph thinks he has found. The plot of this story is as dark as the cold Wisconsin winter upon which it is staged.

I loved this book and didn't want to put it down. After having read it cover to cover in one sitting I then passed it on to a few friends who, it turns out, were less then enchanted by what I thought to be a literary masterpiece (or at least a really good book). Perhaps the characters do lack sound morals but we can't all be perfect. Maybe the plot is a bit dark but who doesn't get a little depressed every now and then?

Goolrick writes about horrible characters who have done horrific things. However, despite their vile personas, one can't help but be captivated; wondering what crimes they may commit next. This is a truly unique and well written book, with well developed characters and an authentic plot. I feel as though the author must have spent countless hours racking his brain for just the right words to evoke just the right amount of suspense and foreboding to truly suck the readers in. I LIKED THIS BOOK!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild is the true story of Christopher McCandless as told by author Jon Krakauer. In 1992 subsequent to graduating with honors from an Atlanta University, McCandless discarded his possessions, gave his complete $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he then went off on his own to live in the wilderness. Four months later his body was discovered. His diary and letters, found at an isolated campsite tell of his desperate efforts to survive.

I was disappointed with this book and after reading other reviews was expecting much more. This is actually the second book that I have read by Krakauer and I must admit I wasn't a fan of his previous work either (Why did I give him another try? Because I am a fair and just ruler.). Maybe it is the author's bragging of his life experience and his experience as a writer for Outdoor magazine that has elevated my expectations but this book was a definite let down. I was expecting to read the story of Chris McCandless, but instead felt as if I were reading a disjointed assemblage of magazine and newspaper articles. I often felt the author to be self serving and his tone even a bit uncaring as it seems like he spent much of the book putting more feeling into the retelling of his own explorations and adventures than into those of McCandless.

That having been said I too am about to sound a bit uncaring... Chris McCandless was an arrogant idiot. He committed some of the most basic errors of survival in the wild and people are holding him up as though he was some sort of modern hero, in truth he was a misguided fool. Reading a few Jack London novels and then believing yourself an expert in wilderness survival is almost as intelligent as the idea of me reading a few Louis L'Amour novels and then taking up ranching. It was very frustrating the way Krakauer attempted to validate McCandless' actions through the telling of his own imprudent adventures, but even more disturbing was the way Krakauer seemed to actually be encouraging others to go "into the wild" unprepared.