Monthly Archives: July 2013

#22: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

Family Fang

The Fang family is Caleb, Camille, Annie and Buster.  Annie and Buster are Child A and Child B.  When you’re used in your parents’ art, it doesn’t make sense for you to have a name.

For Caleb and Camille, it’s all about the art.  You create something that forces people to respond and then you get out while they are still processing the destruction.  Their art is a series of performances pieces, sometimes documented with cameras, as they disrupt normal life to bring meaning into the moment.

That’s how they see it, anyway.  For Annie and Buster, it’s horrible and confusing and wonderful and theirs.

Growing up, you are your parents.  You like what they like because you don’t know that there are other options.  You like the music they play because they like it.  When they tell you that it’s important that you stand in public, telling lies about a sick dog while playing instruments you don’t know how to use, you stand in public, telling lies about a sick dog while playing instruments you don’t know how to use.  When you parents begin to boo you, you know that this is art and it’s important and that nothing works without you.

But as Annie and Buster get older, they become more and more frustrated with their parents’ art.  Annie especially begins to see that she will be unable to live as Child A and has to get out and on her own.  Buster is more of a peacemaker, wanting to leave with Annie while at the same time not letting his parents down.

Even in their most frustrated moments, Annie and Buster will always do what their parents ask.  They understand that the art is what comes first and even if they don’t like it, they do it because their parents asked them to…  Until their parents go too far.  When it happens, Annie and Buster break at the same time.

Years later both of them are struggling in their adult lives.  Growing up in a home where every moment had to be about art and meaning and significance, it’s become hard to know what any of these things mean anymore.  Annie isn’t sure how to interact with people and although she is finding success as an actress, she still seems to be searching for who she is, since she was Child A for so long.

Buster has also had success as a writer, but things have not been going well and he’s running out of money.  A potato accident sends him to the hospital, and then back to his parents.  When Annie finds out that he’s moved back home, she’s horrified, but then soon joins him when her own life creates an exceptional explosion.

Like all books about going home, Annie and Buster are forced to confront their childhoods and examine how they felt about their parents and the art.  The four stayed in touch, but Annie and Buster refuse to let their parents have power over them again.  It was too confusing growing up as Child A and Child B and not knowing when art was going to happen.

It seems like this will be your basic go home, get your shit together, learn something important about life, then move on type of book, but then Caleb and Camille disappear.

Maybe.

Annie and Buster are convinced it’s another art performance, but there was blood and no one can find them.  How do you come to terms with dead parents where there are no bodies and every single moment of your lives together has convinced you that this is a stunt?  The Boy Who Cried Wolf, but so much worse.

Annie and Buster will probably go insane without an answer.  Everything about this screams Fang art, but what if it is not?

This book made me sad.

This was a book group pick and it made for a great conversation.  I don’t understand much modern art.  It’s weird to me, especially the paintings of a single straight line on one side of a giant canvas.  Why is this art?  Why are so many of us thinking “My two year old could do that!”?

And performance art?  What the fuck?  Sure, there are always exceptions, but for the most part… why?  Why would the Fangs create destruction, forcing people to react, call it art, and leave?  What is the purpose?  What do they gain and why is it so important to them that people react?  I don’t get it.

Adding the parent/child dynamic is what made me sad.  It is made clear that the art comes first and that their art is far superior to other forms of art.  Caleb can become enraged when people put value on lesser forms such as painting when it is static and means nothing.  For him, it’s about the moment of destruction, chaos, confusion, voyeurism, or panic.  It got to the point where I was pretty sure they only had Buster so they could have another piece to use in their performances.  Once Caleb realized Annie’s potential, she became important as art, but not as a kid.

The family does love each other, so it’s not horrible, but it’s confusing as hell.  When everything is art, is everything art?  When we started talking about the book it became layers and layers of “Is this the art?  Is it this part?  Was this art? When you are waiting for the art to happen, is that part the art?”  Like Buster, we found it confusing and frustrating.

I did enjoy the book.  Annie and Buster are wonderful characters and I was very pleased with their final chapters, Annie’s especially.  Caleb is a strong character in the sense that he’s completely clear about who and what he is.  We did wonder a bit if he was a sociopath with his lack of empathy or understanding of other people’s feelings, but at the same time he just wants people to react.  Camille is more calming, but still wants everything to have meaning, even if it’s at the expense of her relationship with her children.  I wanted to be mad at them, but it was hard to because they are honest and true to their beliefs.  I was absolutely on Annie and Buster’s side, but I understood why the family dynamic existed.

There are a lot of stories in this book and several could have become their own book, but Wilson ties everything together and creates a complete background for the Family Fang and his readers.  It’s worth the read, but know that while you’re reading it you’ll start to wonder if the book is the art or if you reading it is the art or if you thinking about the book is the art or when the book was written was the art, or… or… or…

#21: The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 (The Walking Dead #1-48) by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Tony Moore

Spoilers.  Spoilers from the show.  Spoilers from the comic.

I’m not even going to try to make this anything but a huge pile of spoilers.

 

Walking Dead Compendium

I hate horror.

I hate horror movies.  I can’t stand the trailers for new ones.  Horror music?  Knock it the fuck off.

I hate scary TV shows.  Don’t want anything to do with them.

I can’t stand haunted houses and the few times I let myself be talked into going into one, I’d either bail after a few steps in and walk back out the front door or I’d grab the shirt of the person in front of me, close my eyes, press my face into their back and let them lead me.   Fuck haunted houses.

Zombies?  No.  One of the worst horror creations because they eat you alive and it could be someone you know.  The smell… I can’t even.  It might be a brand new zombie or one that’s been wandering around for who knows how long.  Fuck everything about that.

Walking Dead Season 4

I love The Walking Dead.

My husband had read the comics and when he heard AMC was creating the show, he was wicked excited.  Me?  Nope.  More than nope.  More like “Why?  Why would anyone DO that?”

He’d be watching in the other room while I was on the computer trying really hard not to listen to any sounds.

But then it got interesting.  The characters seemed cool and every single scene wasn’t a zombie biting off someone’s face.  I started wandering into the room, standing in the doorway, watching for a few minutes.  By episode four, I was very curious, but still not convinced.  Then season two started, Sophia disappeared, and I was in.

I didn’t want to read the comic because I liked being surprised and getting to know the characters through the show.  I knew the show had gone in a very different direction with the characters and the story, but I didn’t care.  I liked these people and didn’t want to know what could happen next.  My husband would point out from time to time if the book had a plot line that was more violent than what they did on the show and also that they changed the characters a lot and he liked what they did.

I got so into the show that I would watch in real time, complete with commercials because I didn’t want to wait for the DVR.  When season two ended, I was tempted to read the comic, but still didn’t want to.  Then season three ended and I waited a few months and here we are.

People might hate me for this, but I do not care: I like the show more than the comic.

Maybe if I had read the comic first, I might not feel this way, but I doubt it.  They have become are two completely different things and the creators of the show have done something amazing from the source material.  Robert Kirkman has been on The Talking Dead (congrats, Chris Hardwick!)  several times and seems incredibly happy with what has happened, even admitting that the show has done things that he’s pissed he didn’t think of first.  The writers are that good.

The simple reason I like the show more is the pacing.  Comic book writing is incredibly different from television writing and this makes sense.  Things need to move quickly in a comic.  Because of space limitations, the story needs to be tight and characters need to develop in the least amount of pages.  Ink cannot be wasted.  On the show though… amazing.  Shane’s arc alone is worth it.  In the comic he’s gone at the end of chapter one.  On the show they are able to really linger.  You see his jealously and madness building and building and his death scene?  Amazing.

I also think they’ve made good casting decisions for Carl and Sophie.  In the comic, Carl is a little kid.  On the show, not so much.  Yeah, if you look at season one Carl next to season four Carl of course Chandler Riggs has grown up, but we’re looking at this:
walking dead carl comiccompared to this:

Walking Dead Season 1 Carlwhich then turns into this:

Walking Dead Season 4 CarlI am both excited and terrified to see what will happen to Carl in the show.  My husband said things happen to him in the comic and this makes me want to stop reading it because I want to see what the show does first.  By the end of season three, it’s clear that he is on the path to Seriously Fucked Up.  At the end of Compendium One, he’s still a little kid, but one that has seen and done things that his little brain cannot really comprehend.  It’s been amazing to see how he has changed on the show and Chandler Riggs is one hell of an actor.

 

Walking Dead Merle and Daryl

They’ve made other excellent choices when it comes to changing characters and adding new ones.  Of course Merle and Daryl Dixon are the prime examples.  Guys aren’t even in the book and Daryl has become a fan favorite and women want to have his babies.

 

I am thrilled with how they changed Carol.  She’s a damned mess in the book but is amazing on the show.  Watching her character change has been a highlight of the entire series.

walking dead govenor comic

The Governor is another great choice.  In the comic he’s 100% creepy and violent and evil from the first moment we meet him.  On the show, he’s just as creepy, but it takes a little bit longer to develop.  Not much longer, but a little bit longer.  This makes sense though because he’s a character that so many people already knew about that it wasn’t worth dragging it out.  With Shane they could take their time to show him losing it.  

walking dead govenor

I’m not going to talk about Lori and Andrea because ugh.

Walking Dead Michonne CatWith other characters, they’ve stayed close to Robert Kirkman’s creation.  Michonne feels the same in both versions, with one big difference that is just starting to reveal itself in compendium one.  I love her character and before I read the comic, I was worried that they were fucking her up because of how much fans of the comic were freaking out.

And of course they are able to do things with the artwork that is absolutely incredible.Walking Dead Bicycile Girl Comic 1

Walking Dead Bicycle GirlThe special effects crew should be winning award after award for their work.

The comic is amazing.  The show is amazing.

I still hate horror.

#20: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After LifeLife After Life is another book I picked after seeing it on many suggested reading lists.  Happily, I agree with these reviewers.  It’s disappointing when you don’t like a book after it’s been well reviewed.  It makes me create elaborate scenarios about what the reviewer’s life must be like that he or she thought this book was worth my time.

I enjoyed this book so much while I was reading it that I started recommending it to people before I was even halfway through.  This would be a great book club pick because there is so much to talk about.

The book has a simple plot.  Ursula is born  1910 to a wealthy English banker and his wife.  Every time Ursula dies, she goes back in time to the moment that caused her death and starts over.  

For those of us who play video games, she respawns at her last save point.

We don’t know why she does this.  I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening until the third time it happened, and then I reread the first two pages and realized that Ursula was on this planet to do something incredibly important.  Her life was rebooted over and over so she could get to a moment in time where something happened that changed everything.  What was this purpose?  What was she supposed to do?  How would she even know what to do this time?

For those of us who watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, it’s similar to Cause and Effect, except Ursula doesn’t get to program the number three into herself.

She does start to have strong déjà vu which annoys her mother.  The family’s maid thinks Ursula has the second sight and takes the girl very seriously.  Ursula’s memories of things that haven’t happened get her sent to a psychiatrist who ends up being a strange ally.  Without her mother’s knowledge, her doctor talks to the girl about reincarnation and that what she’s experiencing can be explained.

Ursula continues to die and start over, die and start over, die and start over.

The book jumps around in time, giving us glimpses of things that will happen, or rather have happened in her future, but then all return to a past moment when something happened to her that set her on this path.

I found it a fantastic game, trying to figure out what would be the next thing that causes her to die and where she would start over to prevent it from happening this time around.

You Are a SharkDid you read the Choose Your Own Adventure series as a kid?  I loved those books.  Our library had a dedicated bookshelf in a corner and I’d sit in front of it reading book after book.  You’d get to a point where you had to make a choice.  If you chose A, you’d turn to page X.  If you chose B, you’d turn to page Y.  Each choice led to a different story, and not all of them ended in glory.  The best thing about the stories was that you knew there was a path that would eventually lead you to the right ending where you would win.

Like many kids, I’d use my finger to mark the page where I had to make a choice.  If I died because of that choice, I’d go back and make the other choice.  This became a crazy game of finger origami if there was a second choice after the first and a third after the second.  Some kids would fold down the pages, but I thought it would damage the book, so I’d keep cramming my fingers between the pages, probably damaging the spine.  When I’d get to a moment where I died, I’d keep going back to the last decision and start again.  Eventually I’d find the right path and the book would congratulate me for winning.  There were times when stories would overlap, so you’d pick choice A and it would eventually lead you to the same page as that another path would eventually get to.  Sometimes the choices would make one story, but other times they’d split again if you chose a different path.  I liked reading them over and over to see if different choices would still get me to the winning passage.  And if not, I’d simply slip back to my last finger bookmark to try again.

This is Ursula’s life.  Sometimes it’s an immediate change.  The first time she’s born the doctor doesn’t get there in time and she is strangled by the umbilical cord.  The next time the doctor did get there on time and cuts her free.  One time she slips out of a window trying to reach a toy.  The next time her sister comes in and helps her retrieve it.

I liked the paths that took longer.  There’s one story line in particular that takes years to get to her death.  Something happens to her that follows her until she’s a young adult and when she does finally die, she is whisked back in time to many, many years before.  When she relives this life, she of course reacts differently, and this new choice leads her to the same situations she had already lived, only this time she continues to make different choices that continue to affect her life.

The big question of the book is why she must continue to live?  What is her purpose?  What will she do and is it something that will save the entire world?  Will this be an alternate history or will something be introduced in the book that she stops so we have the world that we now know?

I watched her live and die over and over again, waiting for the choice that would lead up to her final earned death.  Once she died completely, then we’d know this was the moment that she was meant for.

And the ending of the book… oh the ending!  This is the part that I of course will not spoil, but it’s what I really want to talk about with someone else who has read the book!  Something completely changes and my first reaction was “Oh!  So THAT’S it!”  I put the book down, very happy with everything and wandered off to do whatever it was I was doing.  Five minutes went by and then I snapped my head up, realizing that there was still one path that was never explored.  Was Ursula’s life over?  Had she made the right choices and was the end of the book really the end?  Or could the book have gone on again over a lifetime?  

It’s maddening and wonderful and worth every single minute.

Bonus Review! Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger

 

Raven GirlAnother short story that doesn’t count toward my CBR goal.

This wasn’t a great read for me.

A human and a raven fall in love and have a daughter who is neither human nor raven. She knows something is wrong and doesn’t fit into either world. Science tries to make her whole but will she become what she was born to be?

This is a super quick read, complete with Niffengger’s illustrations. I’m not sure why I didn’t like it. I think part of it was the Detective Boy who follows the Raven Girl on her secret travels. Although his character and the scientist do play against each other, making you wonder if either is the bad guy.

Not a favorite, but in no way a waste of ink and paper.

#19: A Scarecrow’s Bible by Martin Hyatt

Scarecrow's BibleI found this book in a used bookstore.  I was wandering around the shelves randomly flipping through books, as you do.  I didn’t have any specific titles or authors I was looking for, so it was a purely random visit.

A Scarecrow’s Bible had good cover so I took it off the shelf.  By the start of the second paragraph I knew it was coming home with me, and I didn’t even know what it was about.  Well, except for the back cover, but that can’t always be trusted.

So, why did I pick this?  Second person narrative.  And it looked like it was done really well.

It’s rare that you read a book where you’re the main character.  Well, it’s not actually you, but it’s You.  You sit and watch TV.  You wait until no one is watching so you can take a few more prescription pain killers.  You wash them down with whiskey.  You close your eyes and wonder if you’ll wake up back in Vietnam.  You wonder how long it will take before your wife looks at you with disappointment before she goes to bed.

You are Gary and you live near New Orleans, but not quite close enough.  Sure, there’s a secret gay bar you can escape to, but you’re surrounded by guys who drive trucks, drink beer, and probably secretly long to bash a queer in the skull with a crowbar.  You have a truck.  You drink beer.  You secretly long for something you know, but don’t know, but know you can’t name.

You meet Zachary by chance and he scares you.  He’s too young and too frail and you want to love him but you know he needs to teach you how.  He’s gay, he lives in the rural South, and it’s no use to try and hide it.

Life fell apart for you, maybe before you went to Vietnam.  When you were there too much happened.  The man you loved, or whatever it was you were doing, ends his story with a toe tag.  And now you’re back home and your wife is afraid of her new life and what you are.

What are you?

You go to your doctor, you get your pills, you act the way you think you’re supposed to as a husband.  You go to work, you try to ignore the sounds of helicopters and gunfire that no one else can hear.

You keep going crazy.

And you find Zachary.

And he saves you.

But you don’t know for how long.

This book was beautiful.  Gary’s character is incredibly complicated but at the same time completely straight forward.  Everything he does makes sense – he doesn’t make decisions that don’t fit with anything that’s happened so far in the book.  He’s a solid character from beginning to end, and sitting in his head you get to watch him watch the world and then slowly piece together what he knew was already there.

When things fall apart, they do so violently.  Very little happens in this book that isn’t extreme.  There are no quiet deaths, quick arguments that are forgiven, nights that don’t end in blackouts.  Quiet moments are too quiet and when a truck goes by you reach for a knife that isn’t there and dive under the kitchen table to survive.

It’s heartbreaking and I wanted him to stop circling Zachary and reach out for him, or for Zachary to step in and grab him.  Their relationship is pure and somehow completely uncomplicated.  It simply exists.  Gary doesn’t struggle with how things are supposed to be or who he’s supposed to be or what life is supposed to be.  He doesn’t need to close his eyes to hear the sounds and screams and voices and explosions from Vietnam, so nothing is the way it’s supposed to be.

The two find each other, things fall apart, things are destroyed, and Gary and everyone around him has to decide what happens next in order to live.

I read this book cover to cover in one sitting and it was incredibly satisfying.  The language, the characters, the structure, the story itself… it gave me a physical sensation of solidness.  It made me glad that this book was written.

#18: Man Up!: Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence by Ross Mathews

Man Up

Quick and dirty celebrity memoir review:

  • If you like Ross Mathews, read this book.
  • If you really like Ross Mathews, listen to this book.
  • If you do not like Ross Mathews, why are you even looking at this book?

And now, my thoughts:

I adore Ross Mathews, although I just this second realized I’ve been spelling his last name wrong.  I’m a fan of Chelsea Lately and always love when he’s on the round table.  This is where I first “met” him, if you will.  I knew he was on the Tonight Show, but I didn’t know anything about him until I saw him on Chelsea, perfectly dressed, complete with pocket square.

I was super excited to find out he was writing a book, and my fingers were crossed that he’d do an audio version.  He had to do an audio version!  It’s Ross Mathews!  Part of the reason why I love him is because of his voice!  Even when he’s being snarky, he sounds so sweet and innocent.  There’s nothing like a cheery voice delivering a well deserved disappointed pun at a celebrity who has let him down.

The planet had to have known the second he emerged into the world that he was far too fabulous to stay in Washington and be kept from us.  It’s possible this happened at this moment of his conception.  His stories about growing up in spinach land and crafting swears to make his father proud clearly point to where he would later end up.  This was a boy who was happy screaming obscenities at a lake to make fish appear (it totally works) and then pick out just the right outfit to wear for an elementary school rap performance.  (Spoiler: the rap results in heartbreak.)

He knew from an early age that he wanted to be on TV, and he really wanted to host his own talk show.  Sitting on the couch with his beloved mom watching Oprah, he saw the potential of fame and how it brought people together.  It was an opportunity for him to share his love of life with all of us!

His writing is hilarious.  I love memoirs when it’s clear the author did the writing.  This book is 100% Ross.  From the alliteration to the puns, it’s everything I could have dreamed.  I knew I had to have the audio version and it was even more fantastic that I could have imagined.  He’s the type of celebrity that is able to be your best friend, and he actually wants to be your best friend!  He’s sweet and honest and humble and truly grateful for where he is in his life.  It feels like he’s reading the book for you and only you.

Listening him talk about his first (and only!) encounter with a vagina to coming out to his mom (who already knew) to his secret Lane Bryant shame (banned for life!), I liked him more and more with each chapter.  He is sweet and kind, but he will curse you out on a bus of teenagers if you are hateful.

I especially liked the parts with his mom because he does a hilarious and loving imitation of her.  I felt like I knew her after a few sentences.  It was beautiful hearing such unconditional love and pride.

The book is a wonderful journey of little Ross to Hello Ross and I’m thrilled that he decided to write his book.  Squash, dogs, drugs, mascara goo, stolen food – it’s all here.   And there is alliteration!  And puns!  Such wonderful puns!

I adore Ross, I love this book, and if you are at all a fan of his, you need to get it.  And you must get the audio version.

#17: The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

TalismanThis was a book club pick and many of my Facebook friends were shocked that I had never read it before.  A huge group of friends love this book and many have it in their Favorite Books of All Time lists.  I expected that my like-minded reader friends would of course be on board, but I found that friends that I wouldn’t have guessed like this genre loved it as well.  Clearly this is a book that spans readerships and ages.  Several friends read it and loved it as teenagers and then picked it up again as adults and were thrilled that it held up and they still loved it.  All of these FB responses made me wonder why this book was never on my radar.  I’m really glad my book group picked it.

The challenge for me was figuring out how to describe the authors’ writing.  Was it King’s part?  Straub’s?  King-Straub?  Straub-King?  There were definitely parts that were 100% King, but I’ve never read anything by Straub so couldn’t know what he created.  For the purpose of this review I’ll stay with the book’s order and the author is now King-Straub.

Our protagonist is Jack Sawyer.  It’s 1981 and he’s on the cusp of turning 13.  His father is dead, his mother is dying and she has scooped him up and fled to New Hampshire, and he doesn’t know why.  She won’t admit she’s dying, or even that she’s sick, and Jack is angry and scared at everything she’s keeping from him.

His father’s business partner is relentlessly pursuing them both and this ads to Jack’s confusion.  Uncle Morgan (not really his uncle) has been bullying his mother about something.  It has to do with Jack’s father and it is clear that his mother wants nothing to do with Morgan’s plans.  The more she resists, the angrier Morgan gets and Jack begins to wonder exactly what his father’s business was.

He also begins to remember when he was a little boy and would Daydream.  His mother was quick to tell him to forget them, although lately he’s begun to see things he knows aren’t real.  Humans don’t have eyes that turn to yellow and hands that turn to claws.  Seagulls don’t rip oysters apart while staring at you, making it clear that they’d rather the oyster was your heart.  The sand beneath your feet doesn’t spin and speak to you about your beloved and trusted Uncle Tommy’s sudden death.  Tommy, the only person would could have protected your mother from Morgan.

The Talisman follows traditional folklore motifs which almost always makes me happy.  Sometimes an author uses this structure and fails and it’s horrible, but in the gifted hands of King-Straub, it’s amazing.  Jack follows the Hero’s Journey, finding a guide and friends to lead him on his path.  Morgan and other enemies are constantly at his back, and Jack knows little about what his quest even is.  He knows he needs to save his mother and now he knows there is another world.

Turns out his Daydreams were real.  His elder guide is Speedy Parker who seems to know things that Jack has always suspected.  He expects greatness from Jack, who is frustrated and confused and scared that he’s supposed to know who he is and what he can do.

The Territories are waiting for him.

He needs to save both worlds.

He doesn’t understand any of it.

With Speedy’s help he slips back and forth between the two places, feeling helpless and young.  He still doesn’t understand who  he is, only that there is a Queen in the Territories who is and is not his mother and must also be saved.  She is dying and Morgan is waiting to take the Kingdom from her.  Only it’s not Morgan.  At least not the Morgan in Jack’s world.  Not Jack’s world… Jack’s other world.  The one with his mother and not the Queen.

Jack must travel between the two worlds from New Hampshire to California to find the Talisman and save his mother.

In the Territories he must avoid Morgan’s Twinner and the Twinners that serve Morgan in both worlds.  It now makes sense that humans do have eyes that turn to yellow and hands that turn to claws.  Jack has no Twinner.  The Queen’s son died, but Jack lived.

Jack’s story continues along the folklore motif and he must overcome challenges in order to get to the prize.

If the book follows the folklore rules, he will win, but how?  And what if he doesn’t?  Even knowing these rules, how will an almost thirteen year old boy with so little knowledge defeat a man who has wanted him dead since he was a baby?  A man with so much power that he’s is already taking the Territories over while the Queen sleeps?  A man with a son in this world who is Jack’s best friend and must learn who his father is.

I loved this book.  The characters are amazing.  From pure evil to pure innocent and everything in between, King-Straub have created a the kind of cast that you want to be real.  You want to be friends with Wolf.  You are comforted that Speedy is out there keeping an eye on things.  You’re willing to let Richard slip away from you in order to stay sane.

I understand why so many of my friends love this book and consider it an all time favorite.  When an author follows the folklore rules and creates something new and exciting, it’s incredibly satisfying.  As readers we know what will happen (or should happen) but not how the authors will get us there.  There is a fear that the hero will fail and we agree with him when he’s ready to give up.  It’s easier to lose, no matter how important the prize at the end will be.  It is exhausting to watch him struggle and lose his way, especially knowing how much balances on his decisions.  If he fails in one world, he will lose everything in the other.

And I was lucky to get to go with him.