Thursday, May 11, 2006

Crippen and High Calling

Last night Jess tucked Mia into bed. I could hear him as he read her a story, and then the two of them started giggling and playing, but after a few minutes, he started yelling kind of loudly. After awhile longer, I heard him speak a little sternly to her and then he came out of her room rubbing his back. When he told me what she was doing, I laughed so hard, I nearly wet myself. I don't know where she got this from, but I need to get the camcorder fixed so I can videotape it and send it in to American's Funniest Home Videos. Mia jumped on top of him, started sniffing the air and said, "Smells like chicken." Then she bit him, made chewing noises and said, "Mmmmm chicken, chicken chicken." I'll get her psychological help after we win money on AFV.

Crippen by John Boyne is a great fun read. It's based on the actual murder of Cora Crippen by her husband Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen in London in 1910 and the subsequent manhunt for him. Boyne has taken the core elements to the crime and fictionalized everything else, to great effect. He even manages to take a case where the outcome is known and put in an unexpected twist that will have the reader turning back the pages for clues. My one complaint with the book is that all of the characters are characters to the nth degree. They almost become caricatures. That said, Boyne does an excellent job with pacing and setting. He somehow manages to make this dastardly, gruesome crime fun to read about. Excellent writing, I look forward to more of his work.

I wish I could say such nice things about The High Calling by Gilbert Morris. It's the 37th book in the House of Winslow series, and unfortunately, I seem to be reading them just for the sake of the series. I'm so frustrated with the writing in these books; it seems to be deteriorating as the series goes on. Katherine Winslow feels called to something higher by God, so when she meets Parker Braden of England, she turns down his proposal. He returns to England and marries, but they meet up again during the beginning of World War II. What happens next is obvious to anyone who has read the other books in the series. Morris reuses plot devices from previous books, including some dialogue. I know that I read the raccoon hunt chapter in one of his previous books. There is so much exposition and history, that there's very little room for actual plot, although Morris does take the time to vilify Joseph Kennedy in a few lines. Characters seem to change on the head of a dime. Why does Meredith flirt with Parker only to tell Brodie she's too broken-hearted for a relationship? Katherine is wishy-washy with no real character traits to speak of. I'm glad that Morris is writing books for the Christian audience, but I'm tired of reading such poorly written stuff. I know that when #38 comes out I'll read it, but I hope it's better than this one.

Tonight Jess and I celebrate our 4th anniversary. We're having chicken parmigiana, salad, and cheese bread for supper at the table. We're all getting dressed up, and we're going to spend the evening enjoying each other's company. Have a wonderful evening yourself!