Welcome to this month's edition of BBRBF Book Club. Let the fanfare ensue!
This month we are reading "We Are Pirates" by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and boy, do I have a feeling we're about to dive into some murky waters.
Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer, and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he’d like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter.
Gwen is his daughter. She’s fourteen. She’s a student, a swimmer, and a best friend. But she’d like to be an adventurer and an outlaw.
Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal.
Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure.
We Are Pirates is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.
Also, it’s about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home.
The book begins with a flash forward to the end of our story and after the little trickery that is played with the reader in this first chapter, I had high hopes for the rest of the book. It was clear the author could write. His prose is dark and comical and reads almost like contemporary poetry - dealing out heavy meaning in the mundane. But, as the story unravels, and wow does it take forever to get there, there becomes a disconnect between the lyrical writing and the character development, plot, and heck, even the setting.
Gwen is a 14 year old girl being forced to visit Errol, an aging man with Alzheimer's and penchant for pirates, as a punishment for shoplifting. Gwen begins the story as an annoying and angst-y teen with a real grudge against her parents.
Phil Needle is her father. He's main mission through the book is to have his radio show picked up and produced. Phil Needle is also selfish, misogynistic, and annoying. Every bit of his story is just sour, serves no greater purpose to the (muddy) main themes, and could be entirely stricken from the book. At a point, it seems, that his entire purpose is to make the reader feel uncomfortable. Which he does. A lot. His hang up with his old receptionist who left because he wasn't "satisfying her needs" is just unpleasant. And not in a Walter White or Amy from Gone Girl kind of unpleasant that makes you feel hungry and guilty all at once. This is a kind of unpleasant that's similar to catching your grandparents doing it. Yeah. It's just something you do not need to know about. Ever.
After about 50% of the book is over, and you come to accept the book isn't actually about pirates, but a father-daughter tale of learning to understand each other, Gwen actually decides to become an actual pirate. In the San Francisco Bay. Yup. She employs her equally angst-y best friend, Errol, and two other tag-a-longs, who unbelievably jump on board to a life of crime with two young girls and a sick, old man with very little resistance.
From this point everything crumbles from vaguely uncomfortable and dull to utterly unbelievable and ridiculous. There is nothing evidenced in this book that could back up the actions taken by Gwen and her band of rascals and that pretty much blows the whole book. Well, that and Phil Needle and everything about him.
I was hoping a powerful ending could sweep in and save all this wonderful prose from the grips of a truly bad book, but, besides a few haunting and scenes with Phil Needle and Gwen accepting the depths of their consequences, it's pretty much the author taking the last few pages to cram the idea that people are emotional pirates pillaging happiness from each other in the readers face and our heroes learn nothing.
The author is just trying way too hard with this plot, not hard enough with his characters, and now we've got this weird, well-written, terrible book in our world to confuse readers for years to come. Hooray.
There's nothing masterfully inspired about this outfit except look how pretty! Frankly, I merely chose this dress for how perfect it looked next to the book cover. I just recently bought this dress off a BST and the seller described it as classy and autumnal as sh*t. Ad agencies need to take notes from this girl! I have never wanted to look more like wallpaper in my life and I promise you that this dress will be styled to death (which is not unlike being hacked a part by a meat cleaver) on this blog, but I wanted to debut it in its purest, autumnal AF form because it is perfection.
I did wear my pirate ship brooch though so some part of this outfit is swashbuckling!
Be sure to check out all the other babes and their reviews of this dark comedy. Tallyho and what not!