Friday, August 03, 2018

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

book cover Imagine Me Gone is one of those books that I thought I should read because it received prizes for great writing. Maybe I'm too stupid to understand why something that doesn't say anything in the first 5% of it is a good book. The subject is great, too: a family of five people that each describe their lives while battling crippling depression.

I think Adam Haslett found a good way to convey depression: talk endlessly about random pointless things, describe the weather, the way light bounces off of things no one cares about, don't actually express anything or mention anything interesting and occasionally say something really heavy or personally relevant with the same boring and bored rhythm and style. It makes sense, it's the way people feel when in the thralls of this terrible affliction: nothing matters, nothing stands out, it's all grey and pointless. However, a good book means more than just making the reader feel suicidal, it has to have some story to care about, some characters that stand out, anything than just forcing the reader to fight throwing away the book in boredom.

That is why I couldn't even begin to finish the book. I wasn't interested in the depressed description of someone I couldn't care less about, talking about how she handles the depression of others. I can only assume that the high marks for the book are coming either from writing that went completely over my head or from people who were affected by mental illness in the family and read about themselves and got the book. My family is not without its share of psychological problems, but I've had just about enough of it as it is.

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