Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Rob's Reviews: "A Ship Made of Paper."
Scott Spencer writes about obsessive, all-consuming, damn-the-torpedoes Capital-L Love. That is why, although I recommend all of his books, he is probably never going to top "Endless Love", because that kind of love is most common to teenagers -- although most of them don't try to burn down their girlfriend's house to prove their love.
(I don't want to start talking about "Endless Love" because it's one of my favorite books ever, and I probably wouldn't get around to reviewing "Ship," but I will say this, whenever people look at me with confusion because I am unhappy that one of my favorite books is being made into a movie, well, here's a perfect example: "Endless Love" is a magnificent book, but a putrid motion picture. And more people are familiar with the film and when they think of Jade Butterfield they see Brooke Shields -- and that is a shame.)
In this book the protagonist is in his thirties, and living proof that when you chase after your heart's desire a lot of innocent people get hurt. Because of his obsession with a woman, this dude loses a girlfriend who really loves him, the love of his four-year-old stepdaughter, his house, his money, most of his law practice, the vision in one eye, and any semblance of self-respect. He also accidentally (no, really) shoots his girlfriend's husband in the throat with a bottle rocket, causing him to have a stroke. Ruined lives everywhere you look. And all for a woman whose appeal was impossible for me to see -- a woman he could never completely have, and he was okay with that. Well, as okay as this fool was about anything.
When I read "Romeo and Juliet" as a young man, I thought it was a tragedy of two star-crossed lovers whose love was too much for their narrow-minded world to contain. When I reread it now it seems like a tragedy of two knuckle-headed hormone-riddled teenagers who kill themselves rather than wait a week for their feelings to cool off. Sort of the same deal here, with David and Jade in "Endless Love" you understand those feelings -- heck, you've experienced those feelings at that age. But with the couple in "A Ship Made of Paper" you just want to shake these people and tell them to grow up.