@adorable-eggplant I'm in a really awkward boat where I'm not single and actually kinda like Valentine's Day and giving presents, but my SO hates holidays and receiving presents, so today's kind of a bah-humbug secret binge on all the chocolate in the office kitchen day. I also work the front desk at my job so there's nothing to do but accept flower deliveries for everyone else and look at everyone's cute V-Day Instagrams. WHY DOESN'T ANYONE FEEL SORRY FOR ME???
My elementary school friends started their own band, which they called "2 Much," and assigned me the role of Song Writer because I was chubby and known as "the girl who reads." But at least I got my very own turquoise composition notebook on front of which I wrote 2 Much! Songs! and carried around everywhere. It was the closest I ever came to being popular.
I understand, I mean, she was interesting and had this je ne sais quois, but being able to identify with a character doesn't always equal complexity (look at Bella from Twilight). Kate's relationships with everyone but her inner monologue struck me as really hollow--like Towles didn't even want to try to get into the meat of how a woman really related to a man, or with other women, despite the fact that these relationships were the core of the book. I mean, Kate's "spunk" was a core element too, but it didn't carry the novel for me. Of course, this is just my opinion--I'm not trying to insult anyone who identified with the character, because it's your perogative to do that or not to do that or to like the book or not. I just think there are other men (Jonathan Franzen, of course, and Jess Walter, who is a man, Ian McEwan sometimes, Jeffrey Eugenides, who handled the challenge of writing an intersexed character in a famously beautiful and thoughtful way) who do it better. There are also some authors who can't write any character in complex way. Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children, comes to mind. I thought all his characters were just his idea of what "interesting people" would be like if he actually liked people.
I also just couldn't get over the feeling that The Rules of Civility was written in a lustful way--not to be confused with a sexy way. Even though the book was written in first character I got the vibe that the author was just really horny for his heroine.
I thought she was compelling, and I liked the story okay, but I really couldn't shake the fact that she was jut kind of a sexy fantasy of Amor Towles's. Maybe I didn't read enough into her though.
@Rock and Roll Ken Doll
I really like that theory. If you enjoy characters others have trouble sympathizing with because of their own lack of self doubt, I really recommend Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley. It's another tale of a group of people with complex motivations making dire mistakes with each other, PLUS CULTS.
Also I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds conversations about health problems really boring.
@Rock and Roll Ken Doll
I loved Patty! She was messed up, everyone was, but she was wonderfully messed up and everyone hurts everyone in every book by Jonathan Franzen, that's kind of the point.
To be honest, I read the book in maybe 2011, and I'm a "gobbler of books" (to quote A Little Princess) so I probably need to refresh my memory before I give any deets.
WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT PATTY. (I love Franzen AND Leslie Knope.)
I just have to mention the worst two female characters as written by men I've encountered in recent years: Katya/Kate from The Rules of Civility, which I managed to finish, and Zelda Fitzgerald in Beautiful Fools, which I threw down in disgust, probably because you don't mess with the Zelda I fell in love with through Sally Cline's biography Her Voice in Paradise.
What is it about the Jazz Age that makes it even harder for a man to get inside a woman's head? Does the idea of the tomboyish flapper make them think they don't have to try as hard?
@travelmugs Posh also, if you live in a place that sells them at the grocery (holla Wegman's!). Grab a couple of travel sets and you're good to go for <$20.
@Loz I like them but I have the Mod/Kaleidoscope/pink/purple one from their spring collection right now--put it on Saturday and it's already giving me a headache! When they last so long, maybe erring on the side of subtlety is key. Though once I did have a tollbooth guy in Massachusetts compliment my nails when I had another style on them.