[Re: [Re: Disappointing bits]]

Sally Odgers sodgers at hotnet.net.au
Sun Dec 26 07:28:35 EST 1999


> OH NO!  You didn't like Deerskin?  I admit, it is different from her
other
> books, being of a much darker nature, but I have read it several times. 
I
> think it is satifying in a different way.  She got a lot of flack for
that
> one.  It isn't a comforting story, that's for sure.

Hi, Sarah;

I wouldn't have given Robin McKinley flack for DEERSKIN. I just didn't
enjoy it. I don't like dark fantasy, though I don't mind if it's unsettling
in some ways... but then, I don't like dark movies, dark news or
dark-minded people either. It's made my reading life quite difficult,
because so much light-hearted stuff is shallow and poorly written. What I
want is books that make me feel better for having read them, written in a
literate, intelligent style which doesn't irritate the *** out of me! Alas,
it's not a common mixture, which is why I'm so grateful for the two score
or so of writers I have come to depend on. 

And that's it, I think. I want and expect to enjoy my reading. I work long
hours as a writer and lecturer, and I read for recreation. I made a bargain
with myself, after I finished the set reading for high school (most of
which I detested and still do detest), that I would *never* again force
myself, or be forced by someone else, to read a book I disliked. I've kept
to that pretty well, which is why I feel disappointed when I read a book by
a writer I have enjoyed and trusted and end up being depressed by it.

I might add that I feel the same way about climbing mountains in storms or
running marathons or becoming an amateur boxer. I do *not* want to get hurt
while "enjoying" a hobby. I do not eat very hot curry for the same reason.
I reckon real life can deal enough blows without hobbies and interests
adding their wallops as well.

I might also add that I know my attitude is not the only one allowed, nor
the only one to be encouraged. My own daughter likes to read harrowing
books. C'est la vie! As long as she doesn't push them onto me! 

> Rose Daughter is not like Deerskin at all--in that manner, anyway. 
McKinley
> herself prefers it to her first version of Beauty.


I've ordered a copy of Rose Daughter now, so I'll look forward to it. BTW,
how did you enjoy DEEP SECRET? It's one of my favourite DWJ's, but then, I
also quite enjoy her earlier adult one (A SUDDEN WILD MAGIC? the title is
something like that) and most people seem to dislike it. 

It always fascinates me when I meet someone whose reading tastes are very
different from mine. Sometimes we enjoy the same authors, but my favourite
titles are my opposite number's least favourite, and so on. I don't know if
you know of, or have read any books by, Gillian Rubenstein? I met Gillian
once when she and I were co-lecturers at a Librarians' Conference in
Canberra. 

We got talking, since we're both full-time writers and were about to be
thrown into the same hall with the same audience, and it was *really* odd.
Apart from the fact that we were both Australian, both married, both female
writers, both middle-aged and had both published YA novels and fantasy and
sci fi, we seemed to have absolutely nothing in common. She was shy, I'm
not, she's highly educated, I'm not. I suspect she's a couple of notches
higher up the social ladder than I am. She writes in a private office, I do
it in the living room, she said it wasn't possible to make a living from
writing, I was (and still am) doing just that, she was a morning person,
I'm a night-owl, she writes dark, I write (usually) life-affirming. 

It got to the point where we were eyeing one another with the sort of
"What-planet are you from, then?" look.

Finally, we discovered we both liked DWJ. *Huge* breakthrough! Wonderful!
Until - oops! we discovered her favourite DWJ was THE HOMEWARD BOUNDERS and
she disliked FIRE AND HEMLOCK while I was the other way round...

We ended up having a good old laugh about it and she gave me a good quote
for my book STORYTRACK. We're still in sporadic contact, and actually, I
rather like her. She's interesting. One thing we *didn't* do (thank
goodness) is give any comment on one another's novels... just as well, I
suspect!

I hope you had a pleasant Christmas and that the New Year is kind to you.
My family clubbed together to give me a book voucher, so I'm off to my
local (book shop) as soon as it re-opens.

Sallyo.
P.S. You and I do share something; my name is a pet-form of yours!

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