TSS: Anyone want to talk me out of a potential DNF?
It’s been a pretty relaxing weekend around these parts – it’s technically spring break (although not that that means much to me… no rest for the dissertating!), which means most of the students are gone, which meant that I had the gym practically to myself yesterday morning. Unfortunately, while I was at the gym, I realized that I was getting severely annoyed with my audiobook, which is a problem, because normally I rely on my audiobook to be interesting enough to motivate me to do tasks I ordinarily don’t want to do (like going to the gym in the first place).
It’s As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway. I picked it up because I’d seen a lot of people comparing it to John Green’s books, and I can see how the comparison is made: The basic plot is essentially “strange and wacky girl sweeps into the life of everyday mild-mannered teenage boy and changes it forever”, and Anna does remind me a fair bit of both Alaska from Looking for Alaska and Margo from Paper Towns. Each of them has a serious case of “Look at how Seriously Wacky and Off-beat™ I am! I am acting this way because I am deep and mysterious! Isn’t that charming?”
And, unfortunately, I don’t find it charming at all, I find it severely annoying. There was a point where the Anna and our unnammed narrator were talking about a teacher, and he’s all “Everybody in school seems to like him.” and she’s all “Well then he’s not for me.” (those aren’t exact quotes, because I was at the gym when it came up, and didn’t get a chance to jot down where I was in the audiobook, but you get the idea.) I don’t know that I have ever wanted so badly to slap a character and tell her to get over herself and stop being such a snot.
The thing is, while several of John Green’s female leads are pretty similar, in their cases I don’t mind it as much, because the book is about more things than just their manic off-beat-itude. There are interesting secondary characters, funny bits, things happening, and most importantly, a sympathetic main character. As Simple as Snow, at least by the end of the third CD, has none of those things, and seems to be relying on the reader finding Anna charming and mysterious in order to move the narrative along.
What I want to know, from anyone out there who’s read it, is whether this ever changes? Does anything ever happen that isn’t reliant on the reader wanting to unravel the mystery of Anna? If the book develops an actual plot, or the narrator develops a personality, I’d be willing to stick it out, but I’ve got this feeling that the point of the book is “mysterious girl blows through town, changes young boy’s life, and then leaves/disappears, as mysterious as ever, and what was important was not why she wrote obituaries for everyone in town and listened to streams of random numbers on shortwave radio and mailed found objects covered in arcane instructions that she expected the narrator to puzzle out, no, what was really important were the changes she made the young boy make in his own life.” And if I’m right, and that’s the point of the book, well, then, I feel like I’ve heard that before, and I’m not sure I want to stick through another several hours of a character who annoys me so badly just for that.
So, readers, what say you? Ditch it, or soldier on?