Here’s more of what I was talking about with regards to Bee Season.
From Page 2: Eliza suspects that the school’s disfigured desks and chairs are shunted into classrooms like hers at the end of every quarter, seems to remember a smattering of pristine desks disappearing from her classrooms over spring and winter breaks to be replaced by their older, uglier cousins.
Page 3: Though some students finish faster than others, Eliza doesn’t notice this, couldn’t tell if asked where she falls within the worksheet completion continuum.
Page 4: Eliza feels a sudden pang of guilt for having left a lump of powdered mashed potato in the oval indentation of her tray instead of scraping it into the trash, worries that the water won’t be strong enough to overcome her lunchtime inertia.
Page 15: Eliza wishes her father’s hand were on her shoulder for some other reason, generally covets all forms of his attention.
Page 16: Eliza accepts this possibility with the inherent grace of the acutely underconfident, decides not to mention it until he does.
Page 17: Eliza can only imagine the supercharged brain that resides inside, generally equates the inside of her mother’s head with the grand finale of a July Fourth fireworks display.
And that’s just from spending about five minutes skimming random pages for examples. As it turns out, when I look more closely at the phenomenon I see that it’s almost always a technique Goldberg uses specifically for Eliza’s thoughts, and that the groupings are more often in twos than in threes.
I still don’t know for sure if it’s grammatically incorrect, although it feels like it is. I’m certainly not a published writer (YET) but I know that I sometimes take small liberties with the rules of grammar to create a scene, and I know that lots of other, better writers do this too, and with better results. I don’t think Goldberg does it well, though. I hate when she does this, in fact, because it feels like a bumpy, awkward flow to me, and in these moments I feel the writer trying to force me inside Eliza’s head, and I resent it.
The more I think about it, the more I think I didn’t really enjoy the book that much, and I found the last few pages difficult to get through because I didn’t care enough to make it to the end. I don’t really think I could recommend it.