The Day I Dumped Cormac McCarthy

Due to the response I got from my post "Just Keep Reading," I promised to write a separate post about the last book I dumped. The resulting post follows...

 

Dear Cormac, 

We had a good thing going, you and I. 

We met when I was in high school, though you were a bit older. My friends hid their faces behind their neon-colored, muscled male flesh on the cover, MTV-endorsed books and mocked me for flirting with you. But they just didn't appreciate your somber contemplations like I did. 

We tried that on-again-off-again thing for awhile. It was my fault--I cheated on you with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And Jeffrey Eugenides. And Ernest Hemingway. And Junot Diaz. But we won't talk about all that. It's water under the bridge. A buried hatchet. Initials carved into a forgotten tree. 

We bonded over The Road like so many of your lovers before me. But I understood your nondescript geographical references to the mountains of Tennessee and I traveled them with you twice--remember that?--in high school where I corrected the disintegrating grammar of the book, and in college where I had better sense than to do so. 

We hooked up again over No Country for Old Men and I read Yeats for you. I knew the phrase "no country for old men" was something borrowed, though I might not have ever read Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium" if it weren't for you. 

We had history and late night reading romps under the covers and drunk texts while I was reading other books that just weren't as satisfying as yours. We had a good thing going. Then you introduced me to Suttree and we fell apart like pages from a poorly glued book spine.

I should've known when you didn't mention any plot development or conflict in the book blurb, but I just thought that was you and your air of mystery. You had me hook, line, and sinker--or rather, word, page, and book--at the first three pages; that part that you wrote entirely in italics. I thought you were so original. But the subsequent 124 pages I read (out of 476) just didn't do it for me. 

I thought you were better than that, Cormac. I didn't take you for the type to go on endlessly in expository writing about Tennessee life. I didn't take you for the type to leave no hint of discernible plot. I didn't take you for the type to leave me hanging a quarter of the way into a book. 

You could say I didn't give it a chance, and maybe I didn't. But all's fair in love and war and reading, so you know how these things go. There are plenty of fish in the sea and plenty of books on the shelf.

But there's still a soft spot in my heart for you, Cormac... Since I have loved two other of your books, I'm not ready to let you go just yet. I say we go on a break and just be friends for awhile.

Kindly,
Mandy