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Apr 05

The Road To Wellville by T. Coraghessan Boyle

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 280 views

Not that I see myself as some sort of purely cerebral literary analyst at any time, but sometimes a book resonates so much with your current mood that, for better or worse, you struggle for anything resembling a tiny shred of objectivity. I hated this, but I read all 475 pages, and I think it probably has lots of virtues. The trouble was that I was in a bad depression while reading it. Now in theory a comedy would be good at such a time, but this was full of characters who were either hateful and dishonest or stupidly trusting and supine beyond belief. My trouble is that I’ve been overly trusting and mistreated because of it on more than one occasion, and when depressed I feel hugely vulnerable to that kind of thing again, because my neediness can overcome my intelligence, and scared of the psychological damage it could entail. This book seemed to intensify those fears in very bad ways. I think I kept reading because I wanted it to turn out well, and while there is a sort of happy ending, it didn’t help much.

But I think I might keep the book: it is sharp and clever and well written, and the territory – Dr Kellogg, inventor of corn flakes and peanut butter, running a crazily obsessive health spa – is rich in comic potential. I suspect that it might be a very good book which, at another time, I might really enjoy. I can’t imagine I’ll actually like any of the characters even so, but you never know.

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