Friday, July 17, 2015

A Quick Book Review - Loving Day

As I've said, I've been catching up on my reading. A few things I've read before, to refresh my memory and perhaps take away a different perspective on the material, a few new items to expand my focus of the world around me. To that end, I, some books from brother. One of them was called Loving Day, in part derived from the Loving v. Virigina case that ended the prohibition on interracial marriage. It was okay, which for a book my brother gave me is a pretty damn good review.

As I've mentioned before, my brother and I have different tastes in literature. In his readings he's looking for subtext and nuance and metaphor. In the stuff I read, I actually like for things to happen. I'll admit that a lot of the books I read are HeroWorks - i.e., there is a hero, this is him and you know he's going to win. The creativity comes in the how. This differs from Literature in which we start with the PTS - Person Telling the Story. They may or may not win, let's just see how this goes. This book was kind of a hybrid, a little of this and little of that. There were long passages extolling the protagonist's thoughts, interpretations and concepts, telling HIS story,  but things also actually happened, people went places and did things. Contrary to popular belief, I don't need explosions, gun battles or a chase scene to occur, but I tend to need more than talking heads.

This story, Loving Day, revolves around Warren Duffy, the product of a interracial marriage, who has just gotten out of an interracial marriage coming home to Philadelphia to his dead father's final property renovation project. A hop, skip and jump later he also finds out he's a father, the product of an interracial tryst in his youth that has produced an interracial child. You may or may not have gotten the idea that "interracial" is an ongoing theme for the book. It's subtle, but it's there. 

Using that as a backdrop, the story quickly becomes, well, almost a little to true to life, sliding from issues of sudden fatherhood, dating, the need for acceptance, love in the modern era with sides of class issues, teenage angst, unfulfilled life expectations and even a little art critique thrown in. And ghosts. It's funny, it's thoughtful, and at times even a little poignant. Everything in the story seems to come at you at once, none of it fitting together quite right which makes it all the more readable. But, although the story touches some real world in its themes, it lives in an insulated little reality of its own. 

Don't get me wrong, some of it was predictable. A few things, at least to me, popped out as obvious future occurrences and so it just became a matter of waiting for them to happen. A few others came out of left, just like life. But he also went places, talked to people and tried to accomplish things. So he told a story, but it was an interesting story. A few of the supporting characters seemed less than fleshed out, almost stand ins to project the protagonist's feelings onto. A few others a little too mystical, seemingly unaffected by the world around them. Although these maybe products of the limited scope chosen by the author to convey the tale. Ah, stylistic choices.

I found it a good read. It did not end up where I thought it would, but it got to where it probably needed to be. Worth the few hours I took to digest it, and certainly worth the pages it was printed on.

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