A (ranty) word about the Sisters Grimm series, or, Why I Could Not Read Past The Fourth Book

Ranting is not usually my thing, but as a reader of the series, I want to make myself heard on this subject. And rants are just so darn fashionable, you know? All the other bloggers are doing it, Mom...

Advisory: If the Sisters Grimm books hold a special place in your heart and you cannot bear to read a word against them, please refrain from reading further in order to spare our relationship any damage, and yourself some unpleasant emotions.

The quality of the writing in these books has always annoyed me. It made a great deal of sense to me the first time I read that the author previously worked in children's television, because the writing, rather than making the story breathe, reads exactly like some producer describing the great action sequence or wonderful "eew"-inducing humor he has planned for a next episode. As for the slapstick action and humor and the dialogue, they are indistinguishable from the tripe that fills the most abominable (yet, tragically, commercially successful) children's movies or shows.

So why did I masochistally persevere through four of these books? First of all, the level of discomfort required to make me quit a book that I've started has been falling over the past year, and is much lower now than when I started the series. Secondly, rather poorly written children's books have at times (generally when schoolwork means the rest of my reading requires close attention and careful thought) been, in a strange and complex way, a comfort food item for me, even when I don't actually enjoy reading the book. It makes no sense, but to quote a fellow LRRHer, "I already know I'm crazy."

But when I read the word talons applied to the Big Bad Wolf's claws in the first few pages of the fifth book, it was the last straw for my poor tormented inner reader. All right, so the editor (whom the author so profusely thanks in his acknowledgements) appears to have neglected the potential of the series's premise and let it appear on bookshelves in its sad present form. They're New York Times bestsellers, so I guess the hands-off approach worked and I kind of understand the "don't mess with success" tactic. But not even the copy editor cares enough to curb Michael Buckley's verbal sloppiness and prevent him running amok with his animal appendage terms? And so, friends, I cast that charmingly designed little hardback away from me and said, "Never again!"

10 comments:

Anilee 6/05/2008 4:26 AM  

I've never read these, but *squee* I was quoted.

And rants are awesome.

hwalk 6/05/2008 9:48 AM  

I keep seeing these books around and never keep picking them up. They've never really interested me . . .

And talons? Dear me.

Q 6/05/2008 4:56 PM  

Thanks for the warning. If I tried to read these, I have a sneaking suspicion that my copy editor demon would go crazy.

cuileann 6/05/2008 6:40 PM  

Oh, you have a copy editor demon too? Aren't they charming little creatures? Mine is presently making nasty faces at me about a punctuation mistake I made in that last paragraph.

Q 6/05/2008 6:54 PM  

*gasp* The horror! *swoons*

Delaney 6/05/2008 11:24 PM  

You must just imagine my shoulders shaking with laughter at the talon thing, because I can't convey over a blog comment how funny I found that.

My copy editor demon is on vacation...

cuileann 6/05/2008 11:55 PM  

You don't say? Sounds like a nice opportunity for reading friends' amateur writing, or old favorite books that the copy editor demon disapproves of, or something...;)

Delaney 6/07/2008 1:11 AM  

Oh it would come back in a flash. It just disappears when I'M writing. :P

cuileann 6/07/2008 3:00 PM  

Fickle creatures.

Elenatintil 6/29/2008 8:17 PM  

Talons...talons...why is that familiar? Oh yes. Napolean Dynamite.

Anyhow, on topic...I totally sympathize with you. I've never read the Sisters Grimm (though I've heard of them) but I've seen enough of recent literature...how it ever manages to get published I will never know.

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