Sticking with last month's theme of getting my books from the 100 Best Books of the Decade (So Far), I picked up #1 "Open City" by Teju Cole and #6 "Skippy Dies" Paul Murray by from my local library. After loving "Just Kids" (#2) last month, I had high expectations for these books. Maybe too high, though I don't think so. Let's start with "Open City."
Mostly based in New York City, this novel is about Julius, a Nigerian immigrant who is studying psychiatry. While beautifully written, there isn't much of a "story" to this book. It's about Julius wandering around NYC and thinking about all of the mindless things one thinks about when wandering a city. Things like bedbugs and Alexander Hamilton. And that's pretty much the entire book. He'll go visit a friend every once in a while, and we learn a bit about his background, but for the most part, it's just him wandering and running into people. However, because the writing was so lovely, the book wasn't as bad as I'm probably making it out to be. I can understand how it was selected to be on this list. I wouldn't have placed it as #1, but I can see how it made it to the list.
Now, the second book, I just don't get. "Skippy Dies" is reviewed as being really funny. But as you can tell from the title - Skippy dies! And Skippy isn't a goldfish or anything. He's a boy at a boarding school who overdoses. (Not a spoiler - it's in the title and is told in the first chapter.) I get dark humor, but I just didn't find this book funny. Additionally, I didn't like any of the characters. If you have read any of my past reviews, I need to like at least one person in a book to be able to tolerate it. I didn't like "Gone Girl" or "The Goldfinch" for similar reasons. Plus, for heaven's sake, where was the editor for this book? It was 600 pages and could have been edited down by at least 200. It would have been a much better read (again like "The Goldfinch." Editing would have helped tremendously).
However, I do have to say that I'm obviously in the minority here regarding every book I've mentioned in this post. If you look up any of them on Goodreads, they all have four-five star reviews. So, read them for yourself and let me know what you think!
Oh - and GO PREDS!!