Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Frozen Beneath

There can be boy books and girl books. This one caught my attention as a boy book. Even Josephine looked dubious.

I thought I might support a fellow Ontarian author. At the very least, he'd gone to great effort to sell his book. The signs along the highway were a hoot!

Staying in Blind River, where the book is set, piqued my interest. I must preface my review with a story.

Once, entering my local gym in a large city, I heard two men in the weight room. Women, especially those my age, are becoming more frequent. As the language continued, I couldn't stand it anymore. I walked over to them and said, "You know, I've F*ing heard this F*ing language all F*ing day at school. I really don't F*ing want to F*ing hear it here, too." Total shock and silence. Two week later, when we met at the same time, same place, I heard, "There's the teacher..." and the F*ing word was nowhere to be heard. You have to teach people how to treat you!

Back to the book. It definitely portrayed a certain kind of man: crude, vulgar words, in both official languages. Language that added little to the plot or setting. Certainly gave me some colourful notions of the author.

If the book was designed to give me an idea of the Northern Ontario, ice fishing 'real' men, who treat women as objects then I got the picture. Now, I understand that men in a locker room speak a certain way, but it reminded me too much of the gr. 8 boys I had taught. In the presence of ladies, not necessarily women, they cleaned up their language.

I do not know if the men in Blind River are like this, but thought I ought to read to the end of the book as I wanted to have something ready for Barrie Summy's book club! My husband only made it a few chapters in before giving up!

What is interesting is that while the "F" word did not diminish through the book, or the other "4-letter words", the actual treatment of the woman (a sub-character) improved. Don't get me wrong, sometimes the word is appropriate to develop a character or illustrate extreme distress. But it wore thin after awhile. I shuddered every time I read it!

In the long run I am glad we didn't go into the Riverside Bar (Blind River) when we were there, as the derogatory, demeaning comments placed in the book about the cute barmaid really unnerved me! But that did not make me feel better. The disparaging comment about the hearing impaired, the disabled, really set back the new millennium 30 years.

The setting is truly amazing. I cannot tell you how beautiful it is in the north. Many authors have done a good job weaving this setting into their novels. It is beautiful country. if you want to read a better story, go for Nevada Barr's stories about being a park ranger. I will review her work soon!

There is a plot and it is a mystery. It's not a bad little plot, but not too many deep layers to it, despite the depths and frozen ice that protects the water beneath the main plot. The characters are pretty shallow and stereotyped. A 400-page paperback, with large type, it was something to read when I couldn't get into the library.


pattinase (abbott) said...

A interesting review and living nearby in similar climes I may look for it.

Jayne said...

Like you, in some instances, I can understand why the language is used, but there comes a point when it is just over the top gratuitous. I enjoyed the movie Good Will Hunting very much, but after a point, the language became a distraction. Don't get me wrong, I can be a potty mouth myself at times, but usually only in response to incredulous situations. I remember once reading that "Profanity is a crutch for a small vocabulary." Again, it has it's time and place, but too much of anything is annoying.

Jenn Jilks said...

I'm with you, Jayne. I like the quote.

kaye said...

creative post--I'm a little dubious myself.

my review

Linda McLaughlin said...

Jenn, I love your story about the health club. That is LOL funny. Glad it worked. I think I'll pass on this book, but good for you in going outside your usual comfort zone.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting post and review Jenn. I am sure you are right in that we should not accept the unacceptable where bad language is concerned. In moderation I can see the need for it in a book - but there does come a point at which one feels it is just done for effect.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

A fascinating post. I enjoyed it. I like your straw hat.

Barrie said...

He actually put up signs along the highway to advertise his book? Now, that's niche marketing at its finest!

Powell River Books said...

Thanks for the invite to come over and see this post. I missed it while we were away on our trip. That is great marketing for sure. We do radio spots here in town. Since we are a small place it is actually more affordable than newspaper spots that run for only one day. Yes, I use my blog to try to get the word out about my husband's books, but I also have lots of fun doing my own posts. But sometimes there is a blend of both, since he writes about all of the outdoor opportunities here in Powell River. - Margy