Monday, February 27, 2006

Auspicious to Begin With


All Rivers Flow to the Sea is about shock, pain and more than anything grief. McGhee, in the opening moments of the book, absolutely CAPTURES shock, or, well, at least how I would do shock (both in life and literature). Rose and her sister Ivy were in an accident and it is Rose's first day back to school - this you know unequivocally because it is repeated in a cumulative manner for a really long time; until it becomes less appropriate for tone and voice and more important as a literary device, although it does link most sections together prettily. I do, however, have some issues with one plot element. Rose, in her shattered world tries to find solace in the embrace (yes, that embrace) of a boy who has always loved her (if you watch Grey's Anatomy think George/Meredith situation here), she is clearly using him just to feel something, which I understand; I get that - it may not be the best reaction, but it is realistic. What I don't get is the subsequent boys. Not what happened, or why it happened, but the manner in which McGhee handled it. I realize that Rose was moving through the world wound in plastic wrap, but it happened, and then it's like she just ignored the fact. Very little was done with this aspect of the plot. Maybe it is my latent Puritanism (gasp - can I even say that?) but I think that when you introduce sex into a teen book like this you've got to do something with it. It shouldn't take over the story, but it should be dealt with. To be fair, one boy was resolved (in like four sentences), but there were two other boys. And by the way, where were all the friggin' girls at this high school? There are a couple walk-on roles by girls in the first couple of chapters, but after that, nary a teen girl in sight. Weird.

I think that I just wasn't really in the mood for this kind of book.

(BTW, I'm not blatantly ignoring the current poll, but I had this started before the votes decided anything - sorry OSC fans, it won't be next either, I now have to order the thing).

6 comments:

Sarah said...

Yay! She's back! We missed you Jac -- it's been awhile. And good comments about the book, btw. I haven't read it yet, but I had heard a few things about it.

Jackie said...

Did you hear good or bad?

Anonymous said...

Are you really up at 3:31 AM......go to bed!

Jackie said...

I would, if I could, but I clearly can't. And don't blame it on the air mattress!

Anonymous said...

I read this book way back in June, but I remember thinking that Alison McGhee did a good job of portraying Rose's grief through her "relationships" with these boys. I thought it was a very human reaction to simply want to feel something. I fought to have this included in the TU top twenty, but only one other person had read it.

Jackie said...

I agree most wholeheartedly, Rachel (aka anonymous). I fault McGhee not for the action of her character, but rather for her inaction as an author.