Saturday, July 14, 2012

I don't know that I'd admit that

I think I've mentioned before that I mainly use Swagbucks as a source for Amazon gift cards.  It works out well, though I'm not as industrious as some folks.  Yesterday my most recent $5 card hit, and since that brought me up to $15 I decided to hit Amazon for the Kindle edition of Chinaberry Sidewalks, Rodney Crowell's memoir of his childhood in Houston.

If you've paid half a bit of attention to this blog, you know that Erik & I are huge Crowell fans.  His album Houston Kid is one of the best country albums of the past decade (it was released in 2001).  Chances are I'm going to enjoy this book one way or another, but I decided to scan the reviews anyway.  It's a 4.5 star book, and I was curious about the couple of 2 star reviews.

Well, this one appears on the product page itself:
Look at that first sentence.  "Unnecessarily big words and complicated run-on sentences."  I'm only 10% of the way through the book right now, but I haven't encountered a single run-on sentence.  There are some very long and complex sentences, but the proper punctuation is there.  And big words?  Well, yes.  This is Rodney Crowell, for chrissakes, a man who has been writing story songs longer than I've been alive--he wrote "Ain't Living Long Like This" and co-wrote "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight", just to give you a hint.  It's not like you're reading Luke Bryan's autobiography, mmkay?  Expect big words.

I know that book reviews on Amazon are prone to people giving low scores for books they just don't like, but this review is evidence of a subset that makes me wonder about the authors.  These are the "the book was too hard" people.  Really, I'm not sure what would prompt someone to want to admit to the whole internet that their reading comprehension wasn't up to the task.  I guess these are the same people who buy books like Sex for Dummies.

For the record, here's a brief excerpt from where I am right now:

A similar disdain for preparation will become the hallmark of my adult life, winging it at all costs my Achilles' heel and "damn the torpedoes" my battle cry.  Like my father before me, I'm a spur-of-the-moment snob who looks down my nose at those who plan ahead.  Family vans cruising down the highway with all their vacation gear securely fastened on the top bring out the worst in me, my gut reaction being to ram bumper car-style into the driver's side door and wreck both automobiles.  A voice inside my head shouts, I am my father's son.  I came into this world unprepared, and I expect to die the same way.  All you Boy Scout sons of bitches better learn to steer clear of J. W. Crowell's boy.
As kind of a sidenote, I want to mention one more thing a lot of reviewers have complained about: namely, there's not enough about Crowell's music career in this book.  While I don't doubt this is true, I think anyone complaining about it is just as much of an idiot as M. Coggin's husband up there.  The very first sentence of the book's description? "From the acclaimed musician comes a tender, surprising, and often uproarious memoir about his dirt-poor southeast Texas boyhood."  I'm not sure what part of that reads like "learn all about Crowell's music career" to people, but...yeah.


Dave said...

Now that is some tricky writing right there.

Wouldn't it have been funny if the wife could read big words and such, and concluded in her review that, "no, my husband is just a dumb ass."

Albatross said...

I'm not familiar with Crowell, and I hope he's nothing like how he describes himself in that excerpt you posted.

He sounds like an asshole.