As a child, I was more than a bookworm, I was a book freak. I would polish off book after book in hours, absorbing characters and plots and problems and resolutions. It didn’t matter the place or time, give me a book and I would read it.
As middle school turned into high school and high school turned into college, I lost that constant desire I had always had within in me to read more books. I stopped going to book stores and libraries and my free time was spent on homework and hanging out with friends. Reading for fun no longer fit into my schedule as it had before. Reading books for various English classes during high school was satisfying, and it even provided me with some of my favorite books of all time, but there’s something different about reading a book just to read it without the pressure of the inevitable analytic essay that counts for 40% of your grade that would come after.
Luckily, when I came to college, the literary gods blessed me by giving me amazing friends (some of which later became my roommates) who had the same passion for reading that I once had. Well, monkey see, monkey do. As I watched my friends fly through books, I slowly grew back the thirst I once had for reading.
This summer has presented an opportunity for me to catch up on reading, and my Goodreads account is bursting with all the books I’ve marked as, “Want to Read.” My goal is to read 20 books by 2017. So far, I’ve read 4. I know, not as much of an accomplishment that you were hoping. But I’m trying!
I decided that today’s post will revolve around a book that I recently finished; my first summer reading accomplishment! I remind you that I’m no book reviewer, and to please not take any of my opinions entirely too seriously.
About a week ago, I finished The Rocks by Peter Nichols. The 400+ page book intrigued me with its opening that takes place in 2005. A tragic accident between two people sets the story in motion as it travels backwards, yes backwards, through previous decades until it reaches the 1940s. As the book comes to a close, we’re taken back to 2005, where the book begins.
The Stuff That Made Me Go “Meh:” While reading the book and tackling its backwards timeline, it’s easy to confuse the many minor characters and their place in the story. These characters aren’t necessarily protagonists, but their actions often have reverberating consequences that sometimes get lost amongst the grand and sometimes unnecessary descriptions of the setting. Even though some of the characters are involved in questionable events, the reader never get a sense of what’s next for the character because we’re heading backwards, not forwards. Some of the branching plots and conflicts never get resolved, and it sometimes feels that individual chapters deserve their own 400+ page novel.
The Good Stuff: Although, as I said before, Nichols’ descriptions of Mallorca and its surroundings sometimes seem overdone, they do allow the reader to get a vivid sense of the smell of the sea and the sounds of the town. The imagination doesn’t have to do a lot of work to picture the seaside resort life the characters live. Pertaining to the controversial back-in-time writing style, I was decidedly not a fan of the the backwards plot immediately after I read it. But, since letting it sit with me for a week or so, it seems that the irregular timeline was the correct, and dare I say perfect way to tell this irregular story. The reader has to be willing to accept their ignorance over unanswered questions that the story poses, and while there is some bit of closure at the end, it’s an unconventional type of closure; the type that demands we accept that we don’t and will never know everything.
Overall, The Rocks didn’t change my life, but it was enjoyable. It’s not a quick read and has its slow parts, but if you enjoy more eccentric storytelling, definitely add this one to your list.