Sunday, September 03, 2006

Wherein Mindy June Had to Stop Reading "The Corrections"


Last week I told Mindy June I was planning to read this book at some point.

"Oh my God. I can't stand that book."

"When did you read it?"

"I didn't. I got part way through it and I had to stop."

"Why?"

"Because not one character had any redeeming quality whatsoever. Plus, a specific thing happened at one point that made me decide I had no need to continue reading that book."

"What was it?"

"Trust me, if you get to it, you will know immediately. Even my book club wouldn't keep reading after that."

"Was it a sex thing?"

"I'm not discussing this with you. If you want to read it, go ahead. But when you get to the part that made me decide to stop reading, you will know."

Well, we love a challenge over here at CPW! So of course, I had to check The Corrections out from the library immediately.

So far, I'm kind of enjoying the book. She is definitely right that most of the characters are not very nice. This Jonathan Franzen obviously doesn't think too highly of humanity.

I am only on page 83 right now, so please do not give me any spoilers in your comments.

However, I suspect I may have come to the part that made Mindy quit reading. And if this isn't it, I can't wait for what must be up ahead.

The following occurs on pages 76-77. If you do not want to know what happens, stop reading now. (Parents, you may also want to keep your kids away from this next paragraph.)

It was early January and the woods around Carparts Creek were soggy with melting snow. Only the shopping-center sky above central Connecticut and the digital readouts of his home electronics cast light on his carnal labors. He was kneeling at the feet of his chaise and sniffing its plush minutely, inch by inch, in hopes that some vaginal tang might still be lingering eight weeks after Melissa Paquette had lain here. Ordinarily distinct and identifiable smells - dust, sweat, urine, the dayroom reek of cigarette smoke, the fugitive afterscent of quim - became abstract and indistinguishable from oversmelling, and so he had to pause again and again to refresh his nostrils. He worked his lips down into the chaise's buttoned navels and kissed the lint and grit and crumbs and hairs that had collected in them. None of the three spots where he thought he smelled Melissa was unambiguously tangy, but after exhaustive comparison he was able to settle on the least questionable of the three spots, near a button just south of the backrest, and give it his full nasal attention. He fingered other buttons with both hands, the cool plush chafing his nether parts in a poor approximation of Melissa's skin, until finally he achieved sufficient belief in the smell's reality - sufficient faith that he still possessed some relic of Melissa - to consummate the act.

Was that it, Min?

Love,
CP

ps: Remember, commenters, no spoilers! I'm still reading!

18 comments:

Megan said...

That book is one of my absolute favorites. Come on, he says "nether parts"! That's FUNNY.

Dale said...

I didn't finish it either and it's still sitting there on my book shelf. I can barely remember why I didn't like it as it was long ago. No spoilers from me. Maybe someday I'll continue. The only thing I liked about Mr. Franzen was that he told Oprah to suck it.

Coaster Punchman said...

I know! I hope he also works in the term "love button" at some point!

Dale, how could you not have kept reading after the excerpt I quote???

Melinda June said...

Bingo, CP. When people start f***ing the furniture, I'm outta there.

Coaster Punchman said...

I don't mind a little innocent furniture boffing if it's all in good fun. But he lost me when he started kissing the crumbs & hairs. That's just gross.

PS: my verification word is "pwsxyc"

Old Lady said...

Dayum! Yes, press on! Find out what is wrong with this dude.

lulu said...

I also tossed this book aside at some point, although I did make it past the furniture boffing.

jin said...

That's not so unusual in this area. In fact, I try to make a few $$ every time I stand up in a waiting room.
First fella over
with 10 bucks in the air
gets to sniff jin's chair!

Echo said...

Jin, that is some fucked up shit.

CP, OMG, you are soo fucking tripping...

The rest of you? You're all sick. You are deviants...

Coaster Punchman said...

Jin, you are really getting nasty in your old blogging age. You are starting to sound like Brioche!

OL, I can't wait to see what other breaches of taste this character will commit.

Lu, I will fill you in on the rest.

Echo, this is why you love us.

Echo said...

It's true, CP. It's nice to know there are people even more depraved than I am...

Dale said...

Know where I can find a good hooker Echo?

Tenacious S said...

Holy crap! I hated that book and didn't finish it either for all of the reasons stated above. I actually quit a book club over this book. Well, that and the fact that I hated all of the stupid moronic mommies that were in it. They had no snark and no fight. They had been beaten down by toddlers. And they chose crap books. This book was the final straw. Lint and crumbs, indeed.

Coaster Punchman said...

Well, it looks like I may be the only member of CPW to finish "The Corrections." I'll let you know how it turns out, or at least I'll inform you as to what puts me over the edge.

Pam said...

I HATED that book so much, but god help me, I read the WHOLE thing. That is not SO amazing, I am a ridiculously tenacious reader. What's amazing is this: My sister in law, who is NOT a native English speaker and has never lived in the US read the entire book from cover to cover. I looked at her in what can only be described as "shock and awe" when she told me this.

What did you think? I asked.
I didn't get it at ALL, she replied.

No f***ing kidding.

Beth said...

I enjoyed the book. Maybe I need to check out my cute li'l sofa tonight ...

Grant Miller said...

I enjoyed that book. I'm afraid I may not like his new book so much, but I'll give it a read.

Coaster Punchman said...

Pam, I'd heard those Austrians were tenacious. Probably too thrifty. "I paid good money for this book damnit, I'm finishing it!" I feel that way even though I've only checked it out from the library.

Beth & Grant, congratuations! You are collectively a CPW first! I'm still enjoying it and I'm almost halfway through...