The Gull Reef Club


Wise Blood

Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:58 pm

I know this blog has devolved (evolved?) to nothing more than book reviews, but reading is the only thing I’ve been doing lately worth blogging.

Yesterday, I finished Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood. I’m a huge fan of O’Connor’s short stories but had never read any of her novels until now. Reviews on teh interwebs said this was supposed to be her best. Yet another reminder not to believe everything (anything) you read on teh interwebs.

I didn’t get it. The entire book was shallow. The characters incomplete. The story line was dis-jointed and rambling. I so wanted to like it because I just adore O’Connor’s short stories. They are some of the best I’ve ever read. So I was disappointed that this book was so flat.

It began with so much potential. The story started as a caustic strike on religion, specifically Catholicism. Very typical O’Connor, and I thought it would really lead somewhere. About half-way through, I started to question if the story was really developing. Three-quarters of the way through I was in serious doubt but figured I had gotten that far so I finished it. The ending was the most disappointing. It closed with an emotional introspective of a character that had made no previous appearance in the entire book and seemed completely out of place.

My only hope is that somehow this book will sink in at a later date and I will realize what I missed. This happened with me with Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. When I initially read that book, I was indifferent and I thought the ending really sucked. Somewhere along the line, I came to appreciate Grapes of Wrath much more and realized the ending was actually one of the most incredible closings to a story I’ve ever read. So maybe Wise Blood will come back to me in the same way. No breath-holding, however.

Next up, and about half-way through, is J.D. Salinger’s classic Catcher in the Rye. Somehow, I was never forced to read this book in school and I’m glad of that. So far, I’m enthralled. Salinger’s writing styles is raw and rambling in a drunken-friend sort of way. I’m hoping to be done with it by tomorrow before the library closes so I can return these books and get some more before the weekend ends.

Any suggestions for new reads? I’m all eyes.

One Response to “Wise Blood”

  1. nemov says:

    One of my English professors had an obsession with Wise Blood. Fortunately he didn’t make us read it; however, we read tons of her short stories (which as you state are fantastic). There’s a movie from the book with Harry Dean Stanton that’s directed by Oscar winner John Houston (The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen). We watched the movie in class and I can’t remember that much about it. I guess that means I was either unimpressed, shallow, or that it’s bad. haha

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The Gull Reef Club