The Monday Book: BEWILDERMENT by Richard Powers

Janelle Bailey, teacher, AP exam reader, and former shopsitter for our bookstore, delivers the Monday book this week. It turns out not to be a favorite….

I definitely went into this expecting to be engaged and enthralled and breathing deeply, thinking differently about something–in that case never seeing trees quite the same–as had happened when I read The Overstory. That did not quite happen.

Oh, I will look at stars and space differently and think about some other things newly–grief, death, parenting and most especially through grief and death–as well, but I feel like lots of this book were just over my head or out of my own realms of keen interest and understanding, in parts, for me to fully appreciate it quite like I had expected to.

I DO love that the book is set in Madison, and I considered/wondered whether and if so when Powers had spent enough time there to understand these few Madison things: the farmers’ market and its offerings, the layout of some of the city, etc. And I found Theo and Robin and Aly to be interesting and compelling characters for the most part. I enjoyed spending this time with them.

I am not upset that I read it, I am just less confident that I will be totally “wowed” by every Richard Powers I pick up like I surely was by The Overstory.

Also and maybe a sidebar or irrelevant, but: I became more irritated by all of the things that were over my head scientifically when, in the very first pages the book gets completely wrong something that I just shared again recently is a peeve of mine: the misunderstanding of which year of life one enters on their birthday. This main character is turning 9 and so COMPLETING his ninth year of life (we celebrate a first birthday, the big “ONE,” when a child has completed their first year of life. Right??), not “eighth year” as the book states at least two different times. So I was fairly irritated the more that the book wanted me to get my head around science and even its more “sci-fi” aspects, when it kicks off with understanding age wrong. Argh!

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Filed under book reviews, Life reflections, publishing, reading

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