Dear, sweet readers –
Please accept my hiatus. I was on vacation at the beach. Ocean City to be exact. The weather was great, the internet was not so, and thus, I was not able to make more frequent posts. But you know how it is right? Sun, sand and fun? Yeah, I thought so.
Anyway, on to the book.
So, since we last met across the pages of The Big Mango, I have managed to read through over 10 chapters. I have griped about the contents of the story on more than one occasion. My mother has asked me on each occasion why in heaven’s name I am still reading this thing if I don’t like it. Each time, I offer two answers:
- I’m writing a blog. What kind of blogger would I be if I abandon this fresh new idea on the FIRST book???
- I’m not entirely sure I don’t like it. It has certainly gotten under my skin on more than one occasion, but it has also managed to captivate me.
How so, you ask?
I shall tell you:
- The characters, though increasingly questionable in their ability to hold conversation without profanity, insult, or racial or sexual undertones, show blips of depth that I can’t help but want to follow.
- Shortly after my previous post, between chapters 4 and 5, the author finally got into the meat of the matter – he killed off Nina’s friend Michael. Upon reading this, I felt certain the plot would finally thicken. I was mostly right.
- I find the seemingly endless supply of controversial lingo astounding. For example, in chapter 7, Mr. Kelley describes Nina’s interrupted incognito status as such:
“I stood at the door and listened to the faint voices inside. I was about to pull a listening scope from the small purse that was slung across my shoulder, but the sudden appearance of a pair of young zebras, a black-white couple who were leaving their apartment, prompted me to knock on the door instead.”
I have never heard this phrase – “young zebras”. I admit in fact that I was so surprised by the phrase (which perhaps should not have startled me, having grown up in the generation that was familiar with such terms as oreo, and twinkie in reference to people of color who were “white on the inside”) that I informally surveyed my family at the beach – right there on the sand – inquiring if anyone had heard it. The phrase SOUNDED “retro” enough….in fact, I was expecting that if anyone would have heard it, it may have been the more seasoned in our group (aka, my parents).
But the only person who had heard the phrase was my younger brother. <– While drafting, I have since been corrected. My dad had in fact heard the phrase as well, but perhaps he did not hear me clearly (I blame the ocean waves acting as my background music while I posed the question….nevermind the fact that I have a ridiculous tendency – according to my family anyway – to mumble) I still find it interesting that my brother seemed shocked that I hadn’t heard it.
I dunno, it was interesting to me.
And while we’re on the topic of interesting and often controversial phrases…. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a tale in which there were more eye-widening, jaw-dropping catch phrases. After popping back through the last 15 chapters, I determined that the phrases in question fell into one of 3 overall categories: political, racial, and sexual (and, often, combinations of these categories). And let me tell you, some of them are some WHOPPERS. Nina and much of the company she keeps swear like sailors and keep it real about their sexual habits to the point where I almost have to stop and wonder if this is really a political mystery….or if I peel back some tiny corner of the cover what I’ll find what I’ve actually picked up is an espionage porno.
Anyway, Nina has made it to Misericordia….and in the first hour of her arrival she is nearly a kidnapping victim because of her association with the son of the new political figurehead. WHOM, she is very, very hot for. I mean, come on, you’re flying down the road of a foreign country with a radical liberation army chasing after you with a BAZOOKA and pause before firing back to ask what’s up with the hottie and some girl he was kissing in a magazine???? BULLETS AND MISSILES ARE FLYING PAST YOUR HEAD!!! And in what could be only moments after danger is averted, Nina’s gal pal is sent inside the airport (where the drama all started) to face certain grim aftermath while Nina and Luc (her contact in Misericordia) are pulling on each other like middle school kids in a corner stairwell who have skipped class to swap spit.
I mean, does that seem misplaced to anyone else?
Nina traveled to this country with the intent to avenge the deaths of her own loved ones…but has promised Luc she would do no such thing in exchanged for some ‘private time’ (you know, you know…bow chica bow bow!). However, now she is racked with guilt and is trying to decide what exactly her purpose should be. Could it be that hard-ass Nina Halligan may show her vulnerable, emotional feminine side? <– See now…it’s questions like this that keep me reading….
I’ll keep you posted. I’m off to take another bite of this mango…