On Giving Up
This morning, on the way to work, I threw in the towel. I’d been readingLife of Pi for the last week and I was over it. I’d been feeling stalled, uninspired, and a little bored over the first 100 pages or so, but I downright just couldn’t take it anymore when the main character (Pi) gets stranded in a lifeboat with wild animals (including a Bengal tiger, a spotted hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, and an orangutan named Orange Juice) after the ship he’s taking to Canada with his whole family sinks in a storm.
This book won the Man Booker Prize and it was made into an award-winning and beloved movie. Joe enjoyed it and recommended it to me, and many other friends have read it and loved it. So, even though I didn’t understand how a book about a boy in a boat with a tiger would appeal to me, I listened to the hype and picked up Joe’s copy from our book case.
I was plodding along steadily when it occurred to me last night that I just wasn’t enjoying the book. Once this thought enters my head, it’s difficult to escape. I don’t like quitting books, but the lure of the other books stacked in my “to read” pile on my desk is so great–they have so much potential! What if my new favorite book is there, waiting for me, and I’m wasting my time on this story I could care less about? The final straw came this morning as I was reading on the crowded subway on the way to work. I was already in a bad mood because I didn’t get much sleep last night, I skipped the gym to go vote in the NYC primary, I hadn’t eaten breakfast, and the one cup of coffee I’d had wasn’t cutting it. So, perhaps I was hasty. Perhaps I was too impatient. But a scene in which some serious animal carnage is described just pushed me over the edge. I don’t deal well with animal suffering, even fictional animal suffering, so I closed the book and threw it back in my bag, angry at the world.
Now, my cranky mood this morning could be partially to blame for my giving up on this book, but it was probably only a small factor. In the end, if a book I’m reading is making me more frustrated than happy, and if I don’t look forward to reading it, I’m going to put it down. Life is just too short, and I’ve got WAYYY too many other books I’m looking forward to reading.
Do you ever give up on books? What pushes you over the edge? Have you read Life of Pi? Am I crazy for not finishing it?