Sunday, July 6, 2008

Taft

I have to first start out by saying how sad it is to me that since I returned from vacation nearly eight weeks ago that I've only read two books. I have to keep in mind those glorious mornings is Mexico when I woke up and headed straight to the pool with a book in my hand. What could be better?! I can also dream of the next time I have nothing to do all day but read, read read.

Secondly, since I don't always think my reviews are very informative, I am going to start rating each book. Most of the time I just want to share my opinion to get others intrigued to read, but I'm not necessarily giving the best overview of the plot. Maybe the rating system will be another persuasive touch.

On to Taft published in 1994 by my one of favorite authors, Ann Patchett. Somehow this one slipped under my radar, as it appears to be her first novel. So with that said, I can feel comfortable with saying that this was my least favorite of her works. John Nickel is an ex-jazz musician who runs a bar in Memphis. He has a 9-year old son with a woman he never married (and who now refuses to marry him) and they have moved away to Miami. John's life seems to be full of regret, although his love for his son is written clearly and plainly. John hires a too-young waitress named Faye and it isn't long before he is fully involved in her life. Faye's father is dead and she and her younger brother live with their aunt and uncle. Carl is 11 months younger than Faye; they are both still in high school (a fact she initially lied about to get the job). This is where the story starts to take an unpleasant turn for me. Faye begins to fall for John. I can't say that this part is unbelievable since young girls fall for older men all the time. But when he reciprocates feelings for her I get annoyed. His life is somewhat of a mess and falling for a 17-year old seems too far-fetched for me.

Carl is a drug addict and a dealer and throughout the whole story does nothing but disappoint and hurt John. Yet John still feels this displaced loyalty to him and continues to bail him out of trouble. Carl is so unlikeable that I really wanted to see John kick him to the curb. The compassion he felt for these kids was not understandable to me at all.

Woven in between the chapters is a flashback of sorts of the kids' life with their father, Taft. At first it's unclear whether this is really the truth or if it's John's imagination bringing the story to life. I have to admit that I wasn't too interested in either scenario and it was almost too confusing and disruptive to the story to be of enough interest.

Like I said, Patchett is by far one of my favorite authors. But that doesn't mean I have to love every single thing she writes. Being her first novel, I'm completely fine with saying I read it and move on. Mainly because I have beautiful novels like Bel Canto and The Patron Saint of Liars to remember as two of my favorites.

___________
* * * *