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Obviously today is going to be another book review. The book in question today is:
For some reason the bloody jury is still out as to whether or not I even fucking like Bukowski. I mean I am like 90% certain that I cannot stand him as a novelist, but because I was in this Bukowski bubble I then ventured into some of his poetry, and that I liked. Maybe it’s because it happens in small doses and I don’t need to sit with it for nearly 300 pages and it doesn’t feel like an endless uphill battle just making it through the pages. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I hated this book. No, hate is a strong word. I didn’t hate it. In some ways I actually quite liked it. In terms of evoking the kind of attitude and the kind of man that would have lived at that time in that sort of way, it was brilliant. The hard and fast way that Bukowski writes is the kind of writing style that I can get on board with. But there was just so much about it that I did not like.
Like the plot. The way that Henry deals with his life is incredibly infuriating. It’s like he blaming everyone else for his problems but then is also somehow very self aware of what a dick he is. I don’t know what to do with him. I mean I can’t stand him and it’s almost impossible to enjoy a book where you cannot stand the protagonist.
And I mean I truly cannot stand him.
Every thing about him drove me up the fucking wall.
I nearly gave up reading it so many times.
As he kept going around and around in circles and claiming that he was going to change but then ultimately just falling into bed with a woman that he had already declared was crazy but apparently just wanted to check. Or didn’t want to be lonely. Or whatever bullshit excuse he comes up with. He just moves in circles. And they are not good circles. They are very shit, frustrating and annoying circles. That no one wants to be a part of.
Or at least I didn’t.
There are honestly no likeable characters within this book. It’s told heavily through the male gaze (obviously) and as such it means that all the women presented in this book are exactly as Henry sees them, which is crazy. Or obsessed with him. Or crazily obsessed with him. I don’t think that’s true. But he declares them crazy and then momentarily ditches them before you can really find out.
I don’t think this book had any kind of conclusion. To be honest with you, at this point I can’t even remember if there is actually any overarching story to the whole thing. I think there both was and there wasn’t. Which I know makes no sense, but is where we’re are with this whole thing. I do know that it ultimately felt like he had stagnated as a character and other than being a full time writer and not someone who works in the postal system there has been no real change here with him.
Or maybe I’m just not looking deep enough because I cannot fucking stand him.
But, and here’s the kicker, I think I like Bukowski as a writer. Which sounds ridiculous because trying to get through this book was like trying to pull teeth at times because I found it so annoying, but in my depths of annoyance and confusion as to whether or not I even liked Bukowski or was just trying to convince myself that I did I fell into a poetry worm hole. And down that wormhole I found some great stuff. I mean I also found stuff that I couldn’t stand because it was in a similar vein to the book that I was trying to run away from. But there was still stuff I liked. And that confused me even more.
But it didn’t confuse me as much as when I found out that I had actually missed the second book in this ‘series’ as it were and I realised that there is a part of me that wants to fill in the gap…
I cannot recommend this book. I mean I can, but I’m reluctant to do so. I don’t know. Bukowski is somewhat controversial for a reason. And that’s where I leave this…
Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!
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