I don’t teach English, but, of course, I’ve taken plenty of English classes throughout my years of schooling. (By the way, I’m not sure exactly why I’m writing on this topic today. . . .)
I just have to say: I hated the torture. I hated the books. You know, those classics “everyone wants to say they’ve read–but no one wants to read.”
They all sucked.
Most writers suck at their craft.
Now, I wouldn’t say that to a writer’s face. It’d be mean. But: (They suck).
I’ll complain out loud about a dead author, however. That way, no hurt feelings.
Take Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome.
Okay, I’m going to be honest with you.
You know how everyone says if you’re going to comment on a book or a movie you really ought to read or see it first?
I’ll admit: I’m not even sure if I’ve read Ethan Frome.
That semester of American Lit was all a blur. That part of my brain that works to protect one from horrible experiences–it’s mopped most of those memories up and thrown them away. (Good job, brain!)
Is Ethan Frome about a guy injured in a sledding accident?
If so, it’s possible that I’ve read it.
Let’s put it this way: I know I read something by Edith Wharton that semester.
But even if it wasn’t Ethan Frome, I’ve got a few choice words about Ethan Frome, anyway.
Ethan Frome: What a horrible name for a book.
It’s so . . . so . . . un-prepossessing. So un-winsome. So . . . ugly.
But! But! you say — (I can hear you saying this) — it’s an ugly name for a reason. Because the story is about deep things. You know, the problem of evil. Human suffering. That type of thing.
Stop. Stop right there.
Let’s make an important distinction. A story shouldn’t depress readers. It shouldn’t bore readers. If a story is good, we should want to read it.
I don’t want to read a book called Ethan Frome.
Look, writers of the world, people should be entertained by what you do.
If you can’t entertain, then you don’t belong in the profession. However “socio-realistic” or gritty your novels are. If you can’t entertain, hang up your hat . . . or, better yet, try again.
And, yes, I’ll admit it, along with their novels this blog post pretty much totally sucks, too. (So maybe I shouldn’t be writing blogs. I know, I know.)
–But if I had a good book to read about now, I wouldn’t be bored out of my mind in the first place. . . .
That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.