Monday, June 20, 2011

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

I know it's still a few days away from the deadline, but I finished this book last week and have to say that this book was totally up my alley. Even the books that the Kindle suggested at the end were all interesting to me, and I'm looking forward to reading a couple of those as well.

When I started this book, I was in the middle of reading 'Game of Thrones,' and then switching over to CL, CL was a total shocker. The author set up the slow-paced life of this small-town in Mississippi so well -- I would sometimes forget that this story was taking place in the modern times. Mentions of 'Google' and 'Blackberry' and 'iPod' felt like anachronisms in this story.

From the get-go, I felt soooo sorry for Larry. It was so unfortunate that he was such a loser to begin with, and that he would be chastised for the rest of his life, by the world that he lived in. It's hard to imagine someone with such a parochial view of the world -- you would think a man that had faced so much hardship in his little hick-ville would have gotten away -- why would he stay there to face the constant humiliation? Especially when his father died and his mother started getting more and more sick.

I'm not sure what brought Silas back either to this town. He obviously had demons he needed to get away from, yet he also came back.

There wasn't a whole lot of plot points (twists & turns) in the book, but it was one of those character growth type stories (coming-of-age of sorts you could say), which are totally my favorite genre of books. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I was immediately engrossed in the subject and the characters, and the setting he created in this small town. I actually ended up reading 80% of the book in one sitting. And I felt satisfied at the end with however he resolved each characters' story. It's such a shame for Larry, because he lost his entire life, and I can only imagine what kind of anger he feels towards the world that he lives in.

Anyway, would love to hear what others thought of this book. I'd also love to hear people picking up on the references that I never catch on to ... like when Ferah pointed out the reference to leaving your slippers behind in 'Cutting for Stone.' I'm completely blind to that kinda stuff. 


  1. Hello all,

    So I already said this is Antara on the phone...but I find it amazing that she and I are such good friends and both avid readers, but have such incredibly different taste when it comes to books.

    I was skeptical of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter from the moment I read the book description. (I kept thinking this sounds like a bad rip off of To Kill a Mockingbird in my head.) And I'll be honest, I didn't make it past chapter 5...albeit there is a twist on the obvious with Larry as the one unable to escape stereotypes and suspicion I found the basic premise of the story to be pretty trite.

    So I can't participate in the conversation about references and symbols because I didn't read enough...but Antara, wasn't Larry's problem that he was completely complacent? Why didn't he move and start over?

    Thinking ahead: I wanted to make a book recommendation for next time. And I should actually have enough time tin July to also read the whole book. I don't generally pick up nonfiction, but I wanted to suggest Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande. He was a MacArthur Fellow and write beautifully...for more on the book:

  2. @ Priti -- 'To Kill A Mockingbird' ... yet another example of a book that I hated and could not get myself to read all the way through ... lemme guess, you loved it??? ;-)

  3. The book reminded me of George Pelecanos' The Turnaround, both combining a long-ago mystery with race relations, how a decision made in youth can affect someone his entire life, and the concept of forgiveness.