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Posted July 8, 2009
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My creative writing professor used to teach us, "Edit, edit, and then edit some more." I think Kate Christensen could have benefitted from that advice. Her novel JEREMY THRANE contains about 50 pages of actual story; the rest is too much about nothing. Christensen likes to bore her readers with too many unnecessary details. There's too much telling and not enough showing. The story would have been the same if not for the too-numerous mundane, descript details. As the reader, I'm never involved in Jeremy's world. I'm an outsider looking in through a dirty window, being told the most mundane details about the life of someone I don't even care for.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The story is positioned as a story about Jeremy, a gay man, being kicked out of his in-the-closet Hollywood boyfriend Ted's place, and having to fend for himself. Along the way, he grows up and discovers what love is. Sounds interesting, right? Too bad I never got a sense of that reading JEREMY THRANE. In truth, Ted is barely in the book and I'm not quite sure Jeremy grows or learns to love by the time the novel is over. Jeremy declines Ted's offer of being financially kept and then whines that he has to go out in the real world and find a job. He shoots down every potential love interest because he feels he's too good for them. In the end, he still criticizes the music of the last guy he meets, so I didn't really see any growth.
JEREMY THRANE also presents too many characters. Christensen throws around so many names that the reader has no idea who is who and, therefore, never feels connected to any of them.
Christensen also makes use of the run-on sentence repeatedly throughout the novel, a concept of which I'm not very fond. At times, she also uses too many "$10 words" that do nothing but detract from the story and bore the reader.
Lastly, the subplot of Jeremy's estranged father seems like an afterthought...and not a very good one. Jeremy writes a novel about what he imagines happened to his dad after he up and left the family. "Angus in Efes" is the title of his debut novel. (Angus?) Unfortunately, we, the readers, are "treated" to excerpts from Jeremy's novel about his father's imagined exploits that is even more boring than Jeremy's own story. And when he finally contacts his father at the end, it's rather anticlimactic, which seems to be a running theme throughout the novel.
"I thought the book was well written and imaginative. I'm not sure about the plot, but what does plot matter in contemporary novels, isn't that right?" Straight from the author's mouth.