Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: Rule of Bone by Russell Banks

i've been having trouble picking new books to read these days.  i've resorted to letting my kindle pick for me, which was how i stumbled across Russell Banks' Lost Memory of Skin (review here).  i enjoyed that book, and searching for another, i thought i'd give Banks a chance again.  i read some good things about Rule of Bone and so i picked it up.

it's a pretty quick read.  the book is written from the perspective of a 14 year old who was forced away / ran away from home due to a slew of problems there.  i think Banks is quite good at capturing the voice of this lead character, from his vernacular to his thought process.  it feels authentic.

the story of this novel, however, does not.  Bone, as he is come to be known, goes from living in a hijacked summer home, to living in a discarded bus to living in various places in Jamaica.  i'm all for fictional leaps, and, in fact, i enjoyed the adventurous aspect of Bone's travels.  the key element i need to hold it all together though is someone to buy in to.  Bone is not that person.  never once in this book did i find myself wishing for any positive (or negative, for that matter) outcome to any of the situations he found himself in.  i never found myself invested in him as a lead character.  he has been through some rough things, at first only hinted at, and then made clearer, but even that didn't help create a sympathetic character for me.

altogether, i'm glad this book was such a quick read, because very little of it held my interest.  i'm a big fan of the coming of age story...  but this one just seemed formulaic...  too sparse, not enough finesse of the tried and true pillars of a good coming of age story to come off as anything other than an attempt that falls way short of it's goal.

No comments:

Post a Comment