Thursday, June 08, 2006

Idiot Book.

I finished another book in Oprah's Book Club: What Looks Like Crazy On an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage.

Um. Yeah.

This book made me angry, actually, with it's (im)moral reasoning. It's about a black woman with AIDS (and there's no indication of that from the summary on the back or the cutesy, bright colored cover, so I wasn't expecting it!), and she falls in love with this ex-crack dealer/muscle man (she's actually a v. successful woman, we aren't supposed to get the impression that she's from "the streets," etc.). He went to prison for 10 years for killing two people (although it's implied he's killed more, but he was only caught for the two), and the book seriously makes it out like we aren't supposed to care that he's a murderer--like we are so judgmental if we don't want her to get involved with him--or even question whether she should--that's the big problem I have. That we aren't even supposed to care that he's killed people.

A passage (emphasis mine):

    "Listen, little sister," Joyce said, shifting Imani to a more comfortable position and sighing like she couldn't understand what was the problem. "Ain't none of us sixteen years old anymore. We've done some good stuff and some bad stuff, but it's all our stuff at this point. I figure the best we can do for each other is try to understand and move on the best we can."

    "I never killed anybody, Joyce."

    "That makes you perfect?"

    I hesitated. She had me there.
WTF crazy reasoning! She does not have you there! There's a big difference between killing people and being perfect, thank you v. much.

Look, it's not that I don't think criminals can be reformed or whatever, it's that this book says we aren't even supposed to be concerned a little bit, we're not supposed to have a moment of doubt whether she should be with him--we're supposed to just immediately accept and not care that he's killed people! And it'd be one thing if he completely reformed, but later in the book, he's prepared to so casually "take care of it," meaning kill some punk kid for the women--who is a troublemaker, but hasn't necessarily hurt or killed anyone.

I don't know. I just don't like that this book is so preachy--like if you are a bit leery of a convicted murderer, you're the one with the problem. I don't think so. Ending someone's life (multiple someone's) isn't on the same level as getting busted for drugs when you were a teenager, or even stealing a car or etc.! Yes, he's "paid his debt to society," but there's something inside of people that will allow them to murder someone--and he's shown that it's still inside of him, because he's willing to kill again--and v. cold bloodly, too. Fall in love and marry him, okay, I believe he's decent, too, and am glad for her at the end, but don't act like it wasn't a problem she had to think about, or that murdering someone is perfectly acceptable behavior, especially if it happened when he was young (which it didn't, actually), when it's okay to completely wipe the past.


Nick said...

That makes me wnat to read the book - sadly. Just to see what it all means! :D

Nick said...

I am like trendy and stuff and have a blog - eek - I just got to figure out this crazy thing. :D

Stefanie said...

cIt's one of those books that wants you to think it's "realistic," but it's actually not. The people are all a little too perfect, the baby is not a real baby--esp. since it's supposed to be a "crack baby," the whole "having AIDS" thing is not dealt with much, etc.

And good! I was going to suggest that you should get your own blog.

Nick said...

So it was popular for a bit but definatly not an interesting classic to read?

Stefanie said...

Def. not a classic.