Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Almost, Not Quite, A Book Review

Dear St. Betty,

Thanks for giving me your copy of Dan Brown's newest book, The Lost Symbol, and asking me to read it and give you my opinion.

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I got half-way through the thing and just can't bring myself to finish it. Life is short and time is fleeting, you know, and...well...here is my Almost Not Quite Book Review.

Brown's protagonist Robert Langdon (of course you'll see Tom Hanks in this role again) is once again called to use his expertise as a "symbologist" in the book. Substitute the Freemasons for the Catholic Church and Washington DC for Rome and the formulaic plot quickly becomes very familiar.

I decided to quit reading it when I found myself skimming quickly over pages and pages of tedious lectures about lost "ancient wisdom" (oh please!), Masonic lore and Greek legends that could have been cut and pasted from wikipedia. And Brown wants the reader to believe this is all true. Of. Course. It. Is.

The story is not suspenseful because the all-seeing, all-knowing narrator gives away the motivations and plans of the evil Tattoed One--at least I didn't find it suspenseful to the point in which I stopped reading. Which reminds me that about 5 pages into the book it struck me that the Tattoed One seemed to be taken straight from the pages of a comic book about superheroes. And frankly, so does the rest of the plot!

So, St. Betty, please forgive me for not finishing it. This was the best I could do!

With appreciation,


John Edward Harris said...

You wrote "Substitute the Freemasons for the Catholic Church and Washington DC for Rome and the formulaic plot quickly becomes very familiar." Did you not hear the joke about the Dan Brown novel generator program? Type in a few names, locations and ancient myths and the program will write a Dan Brown style novel for you. Here is what I said about the novel a few months back.


Robin said...

Oh, but QG, wouldn't you like to be a symbologist? Flying to Paris and talking authoritatively about ancient buildings over a glass of excellent wine in a cafe on the Left Bank?

It was lovely talking to you yesterday and by the way, the young man in question is apparently a Republican. Interesting times around here!

Quotidian Grace said...

Wish I'd thought of the "Brown novel generator program"! That's so perfect.

You wrote an excellent review and you're a better reviewer than I am because you finished the thing. The only reason I tried to read it was because my dear friend loaned me her copy and asked me to give her my opinion.

Quotidian Grace said...


I'd LOVE to be a symbologist if it meant hopping around Europe in first class style and having everyone in awe of my "learning"!

Great to talk to you, too. A Republican, eh? Great! One of our SIL's calls himself a libertarian and the other one says he is a liberal. Makes for interesting dinner conversation! El Jefe is trying to convert both, but on a stealth basis.

Stushie said...

Did you ever notice that Dan Brown is an anagram of "Own Brand?"...he writes his own brand of history and theology of course...

Recovering Baptist said...

Thanks, I won't bother trying to read it. Wasn't this the book that got Glen Beck on a loony tramp around various places showing how old and venerable buildings had socialist symbols on them.. a terrifying moment... for him :-)

mibi52 said...

I listened to it as a book on tape that I got for free from Audible.com. Pretty silly stuff. Enough to keep me going on a long road trip, but otherwise dopey, and he got the Washington DC and Virginia building/Metro stuff wrong in a number of places. So very glad I didn't pay for it!

Quotidian Grace said...

I'm glad I didn't pay for it, too!