Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

By Wendelin Van Draanen, 1998 (this cover was redone in 2000)

90% of the time, I decide whether or not I'll continue with a new book within the first five pages. Yes, a pretty shallow way of reading, I know. But the voice of a book really affects me, much more than the actual plot or story. If it's a snore-fest, I can usually tell before the first chapter has ended.

The plot of this book sounds interesting. Girl has binoculars. Girl uses binoculars and accidentally sees man stealing something from a hotel room. Girl waves to Thief when Thief catches her spying.

Ok, wait. Let me add that the overall stupidity of the characters affects me too. Granted, the girl calls herself stupid as well, but from what I know (I didn't read the whole thing, just skimmed a little) she does this throughout the entire book. Which means the girl is not only stupid, she's a repeat offender. And I'm not a big fan of main characters like that. The kind with so many incompetencies it's a wonder the author chose such a character to be the antagonist in the first place. Tess of D'Urbervilles and The House of Mirth come to mind. Although I actually liked The House of Mirth (but not Tess).

I got this impression only from skimming here and there. What really got to me was, well, for lack of better words the boring narrative and dialogue. It just didn't quite catch with me. I guess for now, I'll stick with Encyclopedia Brown.

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