Random Thoughts

14Feb10

As usual, the ADD strikes and I got distracted by something small and shiny. I picked up The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and read it on the road (I wasn’t driving). Lavinia is the better book, but as a former 12 year old boy The Lightning thief has its charms–it’s a classic hero’s tale in the Joseph Campbell sense, and Percy is easy to like and easy to understand as a father-hungry 12 year old with his world turned upside down. It’s a really good read with a lot of hooks. I am going to read the next ones in the series, but it isn’t the book it could be.

Thinking about what was  missing, I guess part of it is the distance from the  characters’ emotions, though there isn’t a whole lot of subtext either . . . not as much resonance as I expected from the story of a modern-day Hercules. I mentally compared the book with Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac McGee–another hero’s journey–and it came up wanting.

cover image from Amazon

Question for readers: do you think it’s harder for male authors to get as close to their characters emotionally as female authors? Or is it a question of action-driven versus character driven writing?

Apropos of the Lightning Thief, I did eat Greek last night with Jan and the kids and had the ambrosia (not the coconut-mandarin orange-mini marshmallow thing, this one had shredded philo, crushed nuts, honey, caramel and vanilla ice cream).

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One Response to “Random Thoughts”

  1. 1 Karen

    Man, that was a great dinner!

    Yes, I do think male authors have a harder time getting close to their characters than female writers. That is NOT to say that there aren’t male authors who do it well–Bruce Coville does a wonderful job, Neil Gaiman is ok at it… I’m sure there are others, but I can’t think of them at the moment.

    I think part of it is that women really tend to look at their own emotions closely and have an easier time expressing in words and on the page. Obviously, this isn’t a universal; there are exceptions on both sides, but as a rule… yeah, I think women do it better =P


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