If you get in your way back machine and go back to the late 1980’s, I was working as a receptionist/word processor/secretary in the Faculty Office at McGeorge School of Law. I had a radio at my desk and for some really bizarre reason, I listened to Rush Limbaugh. Back then, he was a local boy. He had not yet hit the big time with a national stage. No, he was Sacramento’s own.
I hate to acknowledge this publicly, but, yes, Sacramento is where Limbaugh first gained success and turned it into a national radio show that since then has earned him a ridiculous sum of money — to spew hate and intolerance and propaganda that has done much to twist the nature of political debate in this country. After he went nationwide, I pretty much stopped listening to him. But there was a time when I was listening when he had this line. It was his claim that he was right 99.8% of the time. Or something like that. Whatever the number was, it was astronomically high, particularly considering how often he was actually wrong.
So, in the interests of honesty, transparency, and acknowledging that I can be wrong — in fact, I often am and I will never run from my mistakes — I must admit I was wrong. (But I still think I’m right far more often than Limbaugh could ever hope to be.)
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my theory that creative types have only so much creativity in them. What prompted that post was my disappointment in Wally Lamb’s most recent book, We Are Water. As I wrote then — “So ponderous, so wrapped up in the internal thoughts of un-engaging characters, just so … so … well, I think I’m done with it.”
I was wrong.
I stuck with the book. While it is far too long and could easily have been pared down to a much tighter, more gripping read, the book was engaging and cast a tale that needed to be finished. Much like with The Kite Runner, there was something just wrong and disconnected about the first 20-30 pages. Once I got past that, the story was pretty incredible. It’s an epic tale of dysfunction and disarray in a family, spanning decades. All that dysfunction and disarray adds up to quite a bit of drama — enough that it begins to strain the limits of credibility. But, hey, it’s fiction! The story is told from the point of view of the different characters, going back and forth between the here and the now and the events of the past that led to the here and the now.
I was wrong.
The book was worth the time, worth the read. I recommend it. But, if based on this recommendation, you think you might read the book, I want to warn you about one thing. It is not an easy book to read in some places. One of the characters in whose mind you will sit for a few chapters here and there is a man who molested little girls. If you don’t want to be in the mind of a character like that, YOU DO NOT WANT TO READ THIS BOOK!