It’s bizarrely quiet around my house, and will be for the rest of the week. Sammi and Jamie both went to the beach with friends this week (free vacations, those lucky gals) and Ginny’s at rehab, so it’s just me and my mom and dad at home. I don’t think this has ever happened in the history of the world. It’s crazy. I bought dinner for twelve dollars last night.
Hey, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you guys this, but I really like doing logic puzzles. But only if they have the grids already printed in the puzzle. If there are pictures and you have to make your own grid, I skip it. Oh, look – a google search tells me that I did tell you this, last year. Yeah. It’s still true.
Also, I finally read The Da Vinci Code while I was staying home with Ginny. What a bunch of bullshit. Can I say that? Yeah, bullshit. It’s kind of funny, because I wasn’t as annoyed with it when I finished it, but in the week or two since I read it, I’ve thought about it more and the more I think about it, the more bugged I get.
For one thing, every chapter in the book is about a page and a half long. There are 454 pages in the book, so if you do the math, that’s – that’s – about a million chapters. I believe that the chapters are so short in an effort to make the novel a fast-paced read, when in some places, it really just isn’t. So the chapter thing becomes an artificial method of plot advancement, and that annoys me. If your writing was good, Dan, you wouldn’t need to break it up every two pages. Your flow would make it fast-paced.
The plot advancement thing brings me to my second gripe, and this gripe involves the Big Secret, so if you’re one of the five people who haven’t read it yet and you don’t want to be spoiled, stop now.
Okay. You can boil the Big Secret down to exactly one sentence: Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a kid, and the Church has gone to ridiculous lengths over the years to conceal that fact, while a secret society of intellectuals risks life and limb to keep it (and the descendants) alive.
And maybe that’s the problem. The Big Secret is exactly that simple. And Dan Brown spends at least the first quarter of the book ending his chapters with a sentence along the lines of “It’s a BIG SECRET!” like a tiny child with a grasshopper in her hand who insists that she has a big secret, but she can’t possibly tell you what it is now. Or now. Or now. And then when she finally opens her hands, the grasshopper has died. Brown wants us to be so intrigued by the promise of the eventual revelation of the Big Secret that we keep flipping through short chapter after short chapter, and while I did exactly that, I began to get pissed about it. Eventually I wanted to be like “Dude, just fucking TELL me already. Quit wasting my time with these tertiary bullshit clues.”
Revealing the secret in stages is obviously the cornerstone of any work of suspense or mystery, and Dan Brown just does it so badly here that I want to wring his neck.
His dialogue is weak, awkward, and badly paced. His characters are flat and I have a hard time caring for them. I don’t believe for one moment that any of our star characters are in danger, since the surrounding cast is overloaded with bumbling idiots, and even if they were in danger, it wouldn’t bother me much.
Then, of course, there’s the well-documented issue of historical and factual inaccuracy. I don’t have the credentials to go into either at length here, but I know just enough to know that some of the things Brown presents as fact are a little inaccurate at best, and flat-out wrong at worst. And while any avid reader knows that suspension of disbelief is often a vital part of being able to enjoy a book, novels like this are best-served and most convincing when they are based in ACTUAL fact.
It took me a while to get into the novel, and when I finally finished it, I thought, “Well that was okay, but a little fluffy. Beach reading, maybe.” But like I said before, the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I became, until I’m finally at the point where I think the entire thing is a steaming pile of dog shit.
And one last thought – I know a lot of people have issues with this book because it challenges notions of Christianity that they’ve based their entire lives upon. That’s certainly a valid reason to dislike something, but it’s not why I dislike The Da Vinci Code. I dislike it because the writing is bad, so bad that I see the author manipulating the story, and I absolutely hate that. If I can see you pulling strings, you’re doing a bad job.
And if Dan Brown can write a novel like this and get it on the bestseller list for six bazillion weeks, then I’d better get cracking on my own novel, because fame and fortune surely awaits me too.