Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Review: "Shame and Wonder" by David Searcy
One thing that I have come to expect after reading a bad book, and more importantly writing a review of that bad book, is that I will feel good after doing so, because, as you can see from my reviews, nothing will come close for at least a year, and with half the year still to go, many more great books will block out its memory. But for now, Shame and Wonder, a book of essays by Texan David Searcy, is one of the worst books I have read in long time. I tried my best to find some redeeming value in it: any quality I liked or at the very least found interesting or amusing, and I simply couldn’t find anything here that was enjoyable or even passably enjoyable. This is, by design, a small book that won’t get a lot of press or mainstream attention, and I am begrudgingly giving it an honest review. Less of a series of informative essays and more a painful and rather tedious dissection of a rather uninteresting mind, with these essays, Searcy tries to take the little things in life we all relate to, and inject them with a wondrous and magnificent profundity. Instead, these meandering pieces, ranging in length from a few pages to 20 and 30, intellectualize their topics to the point that they are not only boring and uninteresting, but what little whimsy they have or might have had, are drained by loose and flighty language and annoying musings: topics such as cereal box toys, a mythical circus performer, cartoons in a newspaper and a trip to the dentists are literally analyzed to death, robbing them of their possibly grandiosity. If I can say one nice thing, it is that Searcy has talent as a writer, and I get the inkling I might have a better time with his fiction, or even his poetry, if either exists for purchase. His essays though, sure did leave a bad taste in my mouth.