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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Confession From The Bell Curve

Am I mellowing? I hope not because I buy Woody Allen's sentiment from "Annie Hall" that anyone who gets too mellow begins to rot.

But soon after finishing "The Martian" by Andy Weir I put aside my default crankiness about books that don't engage me and heard the cantankerous Pat say to a mellower Pat, "It's not your cup of tea but it is a book that has a lot to recommend it". This might not be a step for many of you but it's a leap for me. Really. Call this a confession from the bell curve.

I started Weir's debut novel in early December and put it down - thinking I would not return - after about thirty pages. A while later, discussing my aborted first try with two good friends who finished the book, they convinced me to give it a second shot. Near page fifty - when the narrative shifts viewpoints, moving from protagonist Mark Watney to the control room at NASA in Houston - I realized why the book has such understandable appeal. And that realization alone propelled me to the end.

I then waited several days before writing an entry in my book journal about "The Martian", time for any residual snarkiness to dissipate. That entry mentions the noticeable lack of any groanworthy prose and concludes with this cliche - "different strokes". I know; those of you more evolved than I could justifiably chortle - big deal, Pat. My response to your chastising admonition: Stand aside as a marginally more mellow Pat leaves the booth.

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