Wednesday, March 13, 2013

update: Mr. Penumbra

A little while ago I wrote about the book I was reading, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I was loving it. I bought copies for friends and was going to buy it for my partner, but decided to ask before I bought it. There's no way I can keep up with all the books she reads; sometimes she loses track. Not a criticism, just a fact. She reads - a lot. And she had read the book not long after it came out.

I enjoyed the book. It was fun and quirky and new and it was a great little ride.

Until the end. The ending didn't ruin the rest of the book for me, but I was disappointed. I don't like the ending.

I'm not talking about how it ends - that's all fine. My problem is with how it's written.

I wonder if that was the author's idea? Or an editor's? Or even the publisher's?

It felt like there might have been more at some point but it was too long, so, chop chop, here you go. The End. Or maybe not long enough so it was tacked on to fill space.

Maybe not. Maybe this is exactly what the author wanted.

But, for me, it doesn't fit. There are these great details in the rest of the book. The characters are written with enough distinguishing features to allow the reader to create them in his/her mind. There are some well-written scenes in places real and imagined and hybrids. Fast paced dialogue. Characters you can relate to or at least you know someone like them or have read/heard/seen something about these someones.

A well built story that keeps the reader engaged and then, wham. Tie it all up in a little ribbon and fast forward with a skipping motions, tada, there it is, and so long.

My partner said she'd reread the book so we can talk more in depth about the ending. I'd love to have some conversation about the ending of this book, which I still recommend, even though I would have much rather had a sequel, or a longer book even, than this treatment.

For me, the ending doesn't fit.

Have you read the book? What do you think?