[Click the icon for more book review blogs @Barrie Summy]Happiness is the privilege of sharing a book with my readers. But first, I must preface my comments.
I was reading in SciAm mag and I just happened on this article. Michael Shermer (www.skeptic.com) wrote an article called 'Kool-Aid Psychology'. He was writing about the current trends in psychology. Specifically, Martin Seligman, who has deconstructed the current key to happiness.
Seligman says, H = S + C + V(Happiness = your Set range + the Circumstances of your life + the factors under your Voluntary control)
Wouldn't that be lovely?As Shermer writes, it cannot be simply a sum of variables, but more complex, with secondary variables being products of this too simple math equation.(Yes, I loved math, too!)
Who are you? is, similarly, a complex question. You are not your job, your car, your age, your weight or height, your home, or your role in life. As an adoptee, this is a deep question for me. You are both your backstory and your forestory. I am a product of my genes, as well as my adoptive parent's nurturing.
It occurred to me, as I was reading this month's book club review, that Nevada Barr's book, 13 1/2, is a fair example of the complexity of the formula of mystery writers. With layers, temporal setting, plot and character changes, and critical reflections of past behaviour by characters, a novel need not be linear.
I have read all of her Anna Pigeon books, which revolve around the US National Parks. Brillliant novels, a successful formula, necessarily read in the order of publication. They demonstrate her development as an author: the character, plot, structure and layers over time. She has extended her range of character and darkened her rainbow colours to that of red-blooded horror over time. Anna's conflict with God - or her perception (see the bottom video for Barr's reading!) is an interesting one. When hubby brought home Barr's latest book I was most excited.
Yes, rules and patterns are made to be broken. This book stands alone. I can perceive the development of Barr as a writer. The layers she refined in previous novels have led her down a very dark, and horrific path. I was intrigued by her evolution as a mystery writer. I read this book within 24 hours. I do not want to deconstruct it, nor to give any of it away. It is a dense, coarse book. Not one for the faint of heart. I found it perfect in this season of snow and white tundra! I prefer horror stories that can be limited by my imagination, and controlled by my mental images of gore. (You can, you know!)
I will say this...
I would predict it might be a great movie somewhere down the line. It examines one theme of happiness, and taking responsibility for it. So often my more difficult students, in 25 years of teaching, have given away their power to others: peers who bullied them, parents who abused them, and all those other excuses for being who we want to be.
My favourite quote from the book:
"They were tricked out in the unfortunate fashion that decreed female children dress as prostitutes in a world full of predators." (Nevada Barr, 13 1/2, p. 168)
*Kool-Aid Psychology: Realism versus Optimism: Scientific American
How optimism trumped realism in the positive-psychology movement.