Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Watching What You Eat

I don't usually get involved in animal testing issues. I'm not completely sure we can do without it in critical situations. But I have no problem denouncing the animal testing conducted by M&M/Mars. They're not doing it to ensure public safety. They're not doing it to meet government requirements. They're doing it...just to see what claims they can make about chocolate. Like people need more reasons to buy chocolate. I can easily live without M&Ms and Snickers, thanks.

Hershey's has already banned animal testing, by the way. Which is fortunate, because I really love Reese's and Kit Kat. Go Hersheys!

In other news, I'm reading "The DaVinci Code". Yes, at long last. I'm probably the last person in America.

I'm mixed. The story is interesting enough. I mainly just get irritated with the way the author tells the story. Any sense of suspense is created by telling you that one of the characters knows something important--and then not just failing to tell you what it is, but bending over backward not to tell you what it is.

It's the adult literary version of that annoying girl in the third grade who would come up to you and say, "I've got a secret and I'm not tellin'! Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!"

Not a single bit of suspense comes from the plot itself. At no time are we all that concerned with what will happen. We are made to only care about what has already happened that we're just not being told. And the writer goes to great lengths to set these little "gems" up.

For example, at one point we're given a flashback episode between the hero and his editor as they discuss the draft of his latest book. The editor goes on and on about how controversial "this" is, yet manages to never come out and define "this." The scene comes off awkwardly, as any normal person would have have come right out and said it rather than the strained dance we get.

A little bit of this is fine. A lot of this is annoying. An entire third of a book (and no signs of slowing) of this is insulting--to both the reader AND the author. It's as if he doesn't trust in his plot enough to treat us as equals and lay it all out for us and trust us to come along willingly. "If you knew what I knew you'd stop reading, therefore I won't tell you."

Indeed, the plot itself seems contrived. When I last stopped the heroes had just escaped the police with the help of someone who would normally have no reason to help them, but just happened to be an old friend of one of them's father. He's willing to jeopardize his career and his life to defy the French equivalent of the FBI because...well, the girl said she was innocent.

I get the idea that the writer is either telling the wrong story or just doesn't know how to tell one at all. The back plot is more interesting than the main plot. His characters can be incredibly bright one moment and incredibly stupid the next. Not that I care at all for his characters, either. They're flat. The only one with any hope for depth is the murderous albino monk.

I'm only a third of the way in, so perhaps things will get better. But this constant diet of dangling and withholding is getting old. I'm listening to this in the car on the way to work, so it's not like I have something better to do with the time. I'm sure I'll finish it regardless, but I probably won't pick up another Dan Brown novel any time soon.

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