Thursday, March 27, 2014
Bookshelf: James Dickey's Deliverance
Summary: Ed, Lewis, Drew, and Bobby are suburban guys who want a taste of the wild. They plan a trip in North Georgia where they can canoe and camp, and be well men. Once arriving they get the feeling this community is really tight and folks from around there aren't too welcome. Things only get worse when the guys get going on their canoeing trip, and Ed and Bobby are attacked by two men. This is only the beginning of worse things to come though as a hunt in the woods begins.
Characters: I have to say if you're a male this book really provides some great male characters, and that is because they feel real. The four men embody different types of men we all know or imagine. Ed seems like an all around guy that most men, not all, but many would relate to. He's very masculine, he seems to be struggling with lusting after women, but he loves his wife and his son, and he will do whatever it takes for him to survive in the wild. He is also the character the story is told from. Lewis is a bit different. He's single and a bit rougher around the edges, but it's more difficult to see what changes have taken place for him by the end. It seems that Ed just becomes more like him. Drew is perhaps the most underdeveloped of the group, but he seems to have a very normal home life and is just a likable guy. He would be even more likable than Ed I think if you had to spend time with the crew. Then there is Bobby, which really you can't say you dislike him, but there is something about him that makes him not a favorite. Perhaps it's because he becomes so weak in his struggle and shame? But then I think most people would have a hard time feeling like a man after what happens to him? Yet none of the friends stop to pity him, but maybe I just feel that way since I was a woman reading this.
Writing: Dickey has a way with words. It's very poetic, and the narrative goes on and on. The problem is for me I really love dialogue, and there is so much narrative that sometimes you're going to be reading a while before you hit dialogue. If you're a fan of well written narrative though there is plenty of it to trail on and on in this book.
Plot: I felt this story could have been a lot longer. While it's an entertaining story, some interesting woven in themes, and even has good writing, there is something about the story that could have been more epic had he expanded it beyond 236 pages. That is a really short book. I felt had there been more interaction between the characters and even further build up before they left for the woods about their home life that I would have walked away from the book thinking "wow! That was a great story, and I'm going to reread it again at some point." Instead, I got done felt it was good and was glad I was done to see how it ended. A really good story will make me wish it never ends though. Don't get me wrong there is plenty to like about the book I just felt shorted.
Deliverance does leave me thinking over certain aspects after reading the longer I have time to think about it. The perspective of men in the sense of men believing they are going back to their roots is an interesting idea that leads into many things to question and ponder. It makes for a great character study as well since everyone in the book feels realistic as well.
Rating 8 of 10.