Thursday, March 25, 2004

Dan Brown's Gotta Hold on Me

Dan Brown writes crap.

Crap, I tell you.

Now, I concede; he is fairly accurate with his factoids. And his understanding of the historical account of the Holy Grail in The DaVinci Code, while not entirely accurate, was fairly good. His iconography skillz are pretty good, for a dabbling author.

And he's a damn good story teller. I, like many before me, couldn't put down The DaVinci Code. And although I don't think it's as good (maybe it's just that my understanding of physics isn't as good as my understanding of art and iconography), I am enjoying Angels & Demons. Hell, I had no choice but to buy the damn book. He referred to it about 1,000 times in Code. Blatantly. I mean, the man all but said you really should buy my other book....

So, powerless to most forms of marketing, I did.

And I'm reading it. And I'm enjoying it. And I'm planning to do some research on some of his factoids.

But the thing is, it's still crap. It really is. I'm reading crap. I think John Grisham writes more poetic prose. The sentences are short and unadorned. Like, John had a headache. He sat down., instead of The throbbing behind John's temples had become nearly unbearable. He crumpled into a chair, writhing in agony.

Hey, being succinct can be a good thing. But not succinct like a far-too-literal fifth-grader.

And another thing, the plots become maddeningly predictable. It's the same thing, over and over and over. Like this:

JANE: I have no idea what this code means!

JOHN: Me, neither! The world is doomed!

Time passes.

JOHN: Hey, this code looks just like the other one we broke in Dan Brown's earlier book, I am Dan Brown and You Should Buy All My Books. I wonder if it's the same?

JANE: Why, John, I do believe you are right! I can hardly believe it! The father figure in my life who recently met with an untimely death taught me that when I was 3 and made me do it on the chalkboard before I was allowed to eat dinner every day! How could I not have seen it before?

JOHN: Well, the important thing is that you have seen it now. Hurry, we must rush on to the next code we will be unable to crack until we suddenly remember it's the same as this code!

JANE: You're right, John. And is it just me, or are you feeling a strange me?

JOHN: I am, Jane. But let's not touch on that just yet. I will, however, continue to admire innocuous parts of you. Say, your feet or strong, muscular legs.

JANE: Wonderful! Let's be off, then!

But still, I read the books. I like the books. They're like Pizza Hut pizza. You get some, you devour it, you're embarrassed to admit you did so, and you feel kind of crappy later. But that's not going to stop you from ordering Pizza Hut pizza the next time.

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