Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Song Is You by Arthur Phillips

Before this book was even released, I read all sorts of glowing reviews about it. Beautiful writing, observational wit, a man and his iPod, a man who connects to his music, etc.

I like music, I was lured in by the reviews. I checked it out from the library as soon as it was released.

Let me just begin my review by saying I think this is a terrible book. And here is why I think this is a terrible book:

A man going through a mid-life crisis, who is disappointed with everything about his life, becomes obsessive about music. He falls for a young singer at a bar and begins to stalk her. There is nothing beautiful or romantic about this. He starts sending her emails and following her around, taking photos, he travels to Europe to see her. Creepy. And the worst part, the part that makes it clear that this book is being written by a man wanting to live out his own fantasies through his characters -- is that rather than be concerned by this stalking, the singer is flattered and yearning to meet her stalker.

This is the kind of story that supports the idea that women like being stalked, that we're flattered by obsessive creeps and invite the idea of being assaulted.

If this was the story of a woman stalking a male musician the woman would be considered crazy and delusional and fit for an institution.

When women write stories like this, about following around men they adore and then have their attention returned, the writing is dismissed as "chick lit." But when a man writes this kind of drivel, he's considered "one of the greatest writers of our time." I think not. I'm going to label this as "dick lit." This is nothing more than a man writing about his fantasies of hooking up with a young woman -- in this particular case, a talented, famous young woman. And just to make this nice and neat, after it becomes certain the young girl wants him, he decides to return to his wife and continue living a nice, normal life. Convenient. Gag. Wish I'd not wasted my time reading this book.

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