Driftless by David Rhodes

Somewhere, someone engrained in me: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

And I agree with this, but I also want to tell people what I think about the book Driftless – which I didn’t like – as much as I want to tell people about books I do like. It is also hard for me as a writer to criticize other writers. I know how that feels, but then again, I know I should take praise as seriously as I take criticism, which is not very for either. If criticism feels right – meaning the person who is being critical is correct in their criticism, then I learn something from it. If praise feels right, I thank the person and try and forget what they just said.

So this long introduction finally brings me to my review of Driftless, by David Rhodes. I must say, I looked forward to reading this book because it was picked for a local library read recently, so I thought it must be a good book. Besides, it was written by a Wisconsin author, and I always like to read fellow Wisconsin authors. I even had a guy at work tell me he liked it, so I thought I’d give it a try. I must say, to my disappointment, I didn’t like it. I read it as an audio book, and like the very famous and much touted book Oprah liked so much that has dogs in it (the title escapes me, but it was set in my home state of Wisconsin as well, outside of Mellen) the only reason I finished it was because I was listening to it.

The first word that come to mind thinking about this book is verbose. Now I know why all the writing instructors say show don’t tell when you’re writing. I agree with this adage to a point myself, but this book was a lot of telling and that made it hard to keep listening. Frequently Rhodes tries to be colorful with many of his discriptions, but then just as frequently goes too far and you’re left thinking: “What?”

For those of you who want to read this, the basic story is about the people in a small rural town of Words Wisconsin, their lives and their struggles. It took me at least 3 of the CD’s to start to even care about any of the characters, and one of the main characters is so annoying (Winnie, the single- as in not married – Pastor of the Words church) that I cringed when her character came back into the stories. And the end takes the cake for me when this pastor, a pastor mind you, throws an empty cremation urn through the window of someone who has sincerely professed his love for her. I’m sorry, not gonna happen. I did finish the whole book, all 13 CD’s, but I’m sorry for Mr. Rhodes in that I can not recommend this book. Again, some people liked it, but not me!


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