May 6, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Think of the Children

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So, earlier this week I tried to listen to the audiobook The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates. Can you believe I've never read any Joyce Carol Oates? I didn't know what the book was about but I thought it was time to try out the author.

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares Cover
I did not get far.

Here's the thing. I was really digging the writing. It was so realistic. Maybe too real. The Corn Maiden, you see, is about Marissa, an eleven year old girl, who was lured into the basement of an older girl from her school for the purposes of some human sacrifice ritual. Yeah, the older girl is a nutter. Unfortunately, she's a popular and persuasive nutter. The story is told from different points of view. I did not make it past the mother. 

There is a particular feeling a parent gets when you don't know where your child is even if it's just for a moment. You expect them to be in a certain place and they're not there and you panic. Oates describes the emotions of the mother so perfectly that I couldn't listen any more. Nope. Not gonna do it.

I had a look on Goodreads and it turns out several of the stories involve kids. Children in Peril is my bookish intolerance. Well, it's a problem only if I think things aren't going to turn out okay (I'll read the end first to find out.) I guess it's a Mom Thing. My imagination is just too vivid and I always put myself and my daughter in the shoes of the characters. It's safe to say I won't be returning to The Corn Maiden. These nightmares are just too real.

What about you? Is there a line an author can't cross with you? Something that puts you off even if you're enjoying the story?

Also, can you recommend something else from Joyce Carol Oates that won't make me faint?


14 comments :

  1. I've never read Joyce Carol Oates so I guess I can't really recommend anything, but this book sounds kind of good to me, hm.

    I'm not sure what I absolutely won't read. I generally don't like weird sex stuff I guess?

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  2. I've only read one Joyce Carol Oates book and I didn't like it, but I've always thought I need to give her a second go. The book I read was a retelling of the Chappaquiddick (sp?) drowning (the accident Ted Kennedy survived but his passenger did not); it was bizarre and depressing.

    I avoid a lot of things, actually, but my biggie is cancer. I cannot bear to read about people dealing with cancer. I keep reading all sorts of gushy reviews of John Green's THE FAULT IN OUR STARS but a friend fortunately steered me away after reading it. I'd almost given in to the wave of excitement but she said, "Don't. It's a cancer book." Okay, that settles it. LOL

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    1. Cancer is one I tend to avoid if it's a Big Part of the plot. I don't think I could do The Fault in Our Stars.

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  3. Oates is an astounding writer, and I KNOW EXACTLY what you mean about her being too good. I can't tolerate this topic either, but you might have better luck with Beasts. It's one of my faves, and a novella. Short but powerful.

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    1. I'll have to check that one out, thanks. Maybe I'll have better luck with that one.

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  4. I've tried Oates before- a novel, and a short story, and didn't like either. I've put her on the "authors everyone thinks I should love, but I don't" list. :)

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    1. I'll give her another try before deciding whether or not she's for me.

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  5. I think I tried to read Oates once but I don't remember it at all. She doesn't write the kind of books I normally gravitate towards.

    I can't handle incest in books, especially secret incest. So unbelievable.

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    1. Often it's used for sensationalism *coughPhilippaGregorycough*

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  6. I hate reading about adultery and affairs in books - it will take a lot for me to forgive the characters.

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    1. It makes me squirm. It makes for unlikeable characters for sure.

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  7. I think you'll miss out on a lot of great books if you let your emotions stop you from pushing through. Like the above commenter said she wouldn't read A FAULT IN OUR STARS because it was a cancer book? I don't like cancer either. It terrifies me and children with cancer? I really don't want to deal with it.. But I gave it a chance and I am happy that I did.

    "That's the thing with pain. It's meant to be felt." - John Green, A Fault in Our Stars

    :)

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    1. Lots of people I know and like love John Green but I've never felt compelled to read anything by him. He just doesn't do anything for me. (I will be stoned for saying that!)

      I think that if you try something and it makes you unhappy, you shouldn't feel like you have to continue reading it. I read lots of painful stories but there are some things I just can't get past.

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