Half Finished Love Affair

“A half read book, is a half finished love affair.”-David Mitchell

David Mitchell, I wanna love you.  Really, I do.

And usually, I would agree wholeheartedly with your statement, “a half read book, is a half finished love affair.”  Or, I would have until roughly four years ago, when I read the book that taught me otherwise.  The tome that taught me if I am not enjoying a book, I don’t have to torture myself with it until the last page.  That book, David Mitchell, was your very own Cloud Atlas.  

One afternoon during the Fall of 2012, I came home to find my roommate and our close friend excited about something they’d found on world wide web.

“You’ve got to see this,” they said.

“You’re going to love it,” they said.

And I have to admit, the trailer for “Cloud Atlas”  looked awesome.  An incredible cast jumping across time periods in beautiful costumes?  Count me in.  We decided we’d each read the book and go see the movie when it came out in a couple of months.  What we saw in the trailer was exciting and engrossing, surely that was enough time to complete it?

That night, I sat in my favorite coffee shop excited about the adventure I was about to embark on.  I found the book on Amazon, and was grateful with my (Dad’s) prime account the book would arrive on my doorstep the very next day.  I’d be able to start reading right away!  I scrolled down to the “Customers Who Also This Item Also Bought” section to find some of my past affairs, all authors who fall into what I lovingly refer to as the “pretentious white guy canon.”  Palahniuk, Danielewski, Foster Wallace--I’d read and loved ‘em all.  

But you, Mr. Mitchell, you were different.

As sure as death and taxes, the book arrived the next day.  And I did start as soon as possible!!  I have a few vivid memories of reading this book--in bed as I fell asleep each night, on the courtyard of my university’s campus, while soaking in the tub of my small college apartment.  I even took it with me on a family vacation.  I was in it to win it.   And I made my way through most of the book!

But something happened, somewhere along the way I had two realizations.  The first was, I didn’t like your book.  Not even a little.  I don’t mean it as an insult, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  The second realization was that if I didn’t like something, there was no reason for me to continue to subject myself to it.  It was okay that I did not like the book.  I could take a deep breath, put it down, vow never to pick it up again, and this did not make me any less of a reader.

So, Mr. Mitchell, this is where I disagree with you.  I’m not a quitter for putting a book down two thirds of the way through.  I merely know what I want in a literary relationship and am not willing to settle for otherwise.

Besides, most half-finished love affairs are that way for reason.