Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Reading Information Challenge Day 4

What is the Last Book You Flung Across the Room?

Well this is an easy one. It happened only a couple of weeks ago. I didn't actually throw the book as I don't like damaging books and I do know that some people actually enjoyed reading this.
It was The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud.  The Guardian gave it a glowing review (here).

It was also reviewed on the ABC (TV) Book Club last month and they had mixed feelings amongst their four panelists.  But I did not like it. I could not take one more page of the whinging whiney Nora. It was never ending. Okay it may have been a book about women's anger. It may have had a lot to do with women's anger in literature and how it may be portrayed. The writing is good and the author was long listed for a Booker Prize with another book but I just couldn't take one more page. Not even one more word.

Maybe if she'd had good reason to be angry and to whine and moan but I didn't think she did. I thought her self pity was just never ending.

When I supervised staff back in my years as a managing speech pathologist I used to get new university graduates who would come back to our base at the end of the day and have hurt feelings because a student's parent was gruff with them or a principal didn't appreciate the work they were doing as much as they thought he/she should.  I used to tell them to go home at night and watch the SBS World News (Satellite Broadcasting TV) and then come in the next day and tell me again what their complaint was.

I think it worked because they stopped complaining. Watching a comprehensive world news broadcast makes the rudeness of those around us pale in comparison.  I wanted to sit down with her and watch an SBS World News broadcast. Had she been clinically depressed I could have understood that. That is a real medical condition. She just didn't have the life she wanted and didn't do much about it. I just wanted to shake Nora.

But instead I shook the book. Shook it free of my grip and actually gave it away to a good friend.  She had seen the ABC Book Show and said to me, "Oh is this the one with the whiney, whinging woman?" "Well," said I, " It is but two of them really liked it. You'll probably really like it. Now it's yours and when you finish pass it on to someone else."  I know there are people who like it. I wasn't one of them.  She fell for it!  I just could not connect as another one of my friends tells me when she doesn't like a book. She is more polite than I am.  So now that question is answered I'll look forward to Day 5 of this interesting challenge that motivates bloggers writing more often on their blogs.


  1. I've just been catching up with your challenge posts, what a lovely way of getting to know more about a blogger's reading habits.

    I watched the ABC Book Club episode and must admit it sounded very much like an examination of first world problems rather than a feminist character study and my interest in picking this one up waned significantly. *grin*

    1. You aren't far off in your assessment of that program. I would try another one of her books though bc I think her writing is beautiful, I just did not like this character to such a degree I didn't want to spend anymore time with her.

  2. I've read two or three Messuds and always feel a bit let down. And confused since people have such great things to say about her. Oddly, she is still someone I will continue to read. Maybe I love to hate her?

    1. I think she writes very well. I also thought the story itself was interesting but I could not read one more word about the main character who seemed so overblown with anger it ruined everything else around her for me. I have not read anything else by Messud. But people seem to love her so there is probably something there and I am just not seeing it .....yet.


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