And the Fourth DNF of my Life Is. . .

Tossing aside a book is not a thing I take lightly. To this point, there have only been three books I did not finish for one reason or another:

She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb

Uggghhhhh. I remember kind of wanting bad things to happen to the main character (Dolores?) just because she came across as such a horrible person. I did, in fact, read this book eventually, when I started working at my current library and found it in our “leisure reading” section. It wasn’t AS terrible as I remembered, but definitely not a favorite read.

Ulysses – James Joyce

I tried. The eventual pay-off of getting to say “I’ve read Ulysses” did not seem worth the effort.

American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant – Ronald C. White

NOT because of the topic. Oh hell no, I love history, I love presidential biographies, and I was LOOKING FORWARD to this one. Was almost immediately turned off when I noticed a huge factual error in the Introduction. :/ I also didn’t like the odd way footnotes were presented (or barely presented, as the case may be). I read through the first few chapters, but by then I’d gotten Ron Chernow’s Grant biography for Christmas and decided I’d read that instead.

And now, my fourth DNF. . .

The Confessions of Edward Day – Valerie Martin

I had SUCH high hopes for this book. Actors in 1970’s NYC? What’s not to love?

I’m not sure.

It starts out strong, with a tragic backstory for the MC. After that, once it jumps ahead to 1974, things fall flat. Sure, there’s the thing with him almost drowning and the mysterious guy who saves him, who just so happens to be an actor staying at his friend’s house. And there’s the girl he has sex with but I guess isn’t really a girlfriend or anything. There’s lots of going out to eat or drinking, bitching about theatre related stuff. Lots of name dropping of Stanislavski and Meisner and Adler, etc.

I’m not sure where the story was actually going. I guess I’m supposed to be curious about who the mysterious Guy is, but I just. . .wasn’t? I don’t know. I put this book down for about a week to do other things and didn’t give it a second thought.  I actually had to go back and re-read the first part because I was pretty sure I missed something, but I hadn’t.

The tragic backstory was a hook, but it wasn’t enough to make me care about the MC in the current day. And by himself, he’s not very interesting. I didn’t feel like I had a reason to care about what happens to Edward, or Madeline, or Teddy, or Guy. I’m not sure what he was aiming for, other than “making it” as an actor, but with no real obstacles other than the generic obstacles any one of a million Broadway hopefuls contend with. Perhaps Guy was supposed to come across as an ominous presence, but he didn’t.

I’m not giving this book a real rating yet, because I may come back to it. Maybe once I’ve read all the other books on my 2018 TBR list, I’ll give it another go. For now though, I’m more than happy to turn it back over to the Boston Public Library. Better luck next time?

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