Book of the Week · Reading · Sunday Book Club

Sunday Book Club: Night Film


Busy week!!  My sister came in town with my three nephews.  In order to prevent us from going crazy with 7 children, 4 of them 6 years old or younger, we were constantly on the go.  We had tons of fun, but constantly on the go.  On Tuesday, the engine in my beloved Toyota Sequoia went out.  It makes me sad, not only because of the money involved, but also it means it’s time to let it go and get a new car.  Lots of stress, but at least my sister was here to help take my mind off my stress.

Okay.  On to the book this week.  Night Film by Marisha Pessl. As I said last week, I hated this book.  After all the heavy, dystopian-themed books I’ve been reading lately, I just wanted a fast read.  Usually murder-mystery novels are the ticket.  I read the description of the book and it seemed to be just the ticket.  Um, no.

Here’s what was good about it:

  1. I liked the mixed media approach.  Throughout the text the author used photographs, websites, and magazine articles to break up the words.  I did like that.
  2. That’s it.

Here’s what I hated:

  • The book’s plot is so convoluted it becomes extremely difficult to follow.  At one point the main character has a drug-induced hallucination, but you don’t know he’s having a hallucination, so you have no idea what’s happening.
  • I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.  In case you don’t know about this theory (it’s very important in books and movies), the most simple explanation is that you, the reader or viewer, are willing to overlook plot holes, flaws, breaking the laws of physics, etc., in order to enjoy the book or film.  If you watched the Road Runner cartoons, for example, you would overlook Wiley being crushed by an anvil and still get up, fall off the mountain and still get up, blow himself up with dynamite and still get up, because the show was funny.  Click here for a more detailed explanation. Anyway, the plot was so contrived, diverged in so many different directions that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.  Things didn’t make sense, didn’t flow.
  •  It started out as a murder-mystery, but slowly and weirdly evolved into science fiction. It was confusing
  • Pessl seems to talk down to her readers.  I came away feeling like she was trying to prove that she was smarter than me.  I hated the language she used.  I talked to people who read her other book, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and they said the same thing about her use of language.

Overall, I’d say skip this book.  It wasn’t worth my time.

Next week’s book: The History of Love  by Nicole Krauss



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