Saturday, June 25, 2011

Disappointed in Dexter

The doctor gave me permission to sit at my computer for as long as I wanted; no attempted marathons or other assorted track and field events, though. Even better would be to keep my butt in bed as much as possible, as that would most certainly help to reduce the swelling.

So last night, after weeks of dragging myself through it, I finally finished Dexter in the Dark...and I was displeased.

What I enjoyed about the first two books was that it was all fiction, but remained possible. The odds are against it, but there could be a charming, handsome, "artificial human" out there that's quietly disposing the world of villainy by way of meeting the needs of his psychopathy. It was that link to the real world that made this kind of fiction fun to read.

But the third book went places that it shouldn't have gone. It took Dexter's "Dark Passenger" and turned it into a distinctly separate character from Dexter, and the concept of it abandoning him was something you'd expect to read about in a novel about demonic possession. (The DP leaving him is revealed on the back cover of the book, so it's not really a spoiler.) What's more, Jeff Lindsay kept cutting away from Dexter to have other characters share their perspectives. This wouldn't have been bad, except that at least one of these characters was part of the over-the-top fantasy. It read like, "Meanwhile, in Middle Earth..."

I kept reading this...thing...because I kept thinking, No...This is too much like a fantasy novel. Jeff Lindsay doesn't write in that genre. Surely he'll find a way to bring it all back into reality, and explain it scientifically or psychologically, and the story will right itself. But he didn't. It was completely unrealistic, right up to the end, and it was a disservice to the character and his previous stories.

Of course, it didn't help that I'd read a few reviews of the novel beforehand. Some critics liked it. Many hated it. None touched upon the fact that it was too fantastic. Their gripes or compliments were aimed at the way Lindsay would, for the first time, break away from the perspective of Dexter, and only Dexter.

And that, dear friends, is why I was disappointed in book three; it was too much of a fantasy.

Hence, I am taking a brief break from "America's favorite psychopath" and working my way through a little light non-fiction. I started Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. I've always been curious about the REAL story behind the disaster, ever since watching the movie. In fact, the copy I have includes a commentary from Jim Lovell and his wife, Marilyn, which I listened to. He denotes the differences between creative license and reality, which was nice...but not detailed enough for me. And it was the little things that I found interesting, like the line that became so famous from the movie, "Houston, we have a problem." That's not what was said. The actual line was, "Houston, we'VE HAD a problem," and it was said by John Swigert.

So I'm off to the moon, to which point I know I won't be landing on it, but I'll be following some very brave men on an epic and extremely dangerous journey.

Be well, and DFTBA.

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