I am drowning in a sea of adjectives!!! Help me! Someone stem the tide of adverbs, lift me out of the waves of excessive description, dust the incorrectly-used words from my clothes and set me back on my path.
Ok, I totally wanted to love this book. Intrepid lady-doctor moves to Saudi Arabia (are we not calling it that anymore?) and writes about her experience. Riveting! I am totally a sucker for experiencing-new-cultures books. I like to travel in my bathrobe, so to speak. But Invisible Women was so bad that *choke* I didn’t finish. With a scant 100 pages to go, I considered the value of my time and made the call.
So! Because bad writing is my unforgivable sin, let’s tackle that first. Generally, science-types who are told that they are good writers are kind of like ninth-graders that are told that they are good writers, that is to say, they are good writers for ninth graders! Also, they have an excellent grasp of a thesaurus. I remember shoe-horning in as many adjectives as I could get my hands on, throwing in polysyllabic words even when I wasn’t quite sure what they meant. And so does Ahmed! We’re brain-twins! Except that Ahmed deliberately makes her language inaccesible. Or rather, she renders with purpose her prose to be obtuse. And I never did that.
Either I am not the target audience here, or Ahmed has a very loose understanding of people who read books. She feels the need to define such basic medical terms as ‘central line’ (as though we weren’t saturated with medi-dramas and med-coms over here and couldn’t freely discuss intubations and necratizing faciitis), as well as the handful of not-English words she chucks in for ethnic flavor. However, she thinks she can just bandy about words like ‘pathogmonic’ and ‘endogamously’ and ‘conurbations’ as though they were real words!!! Ok, seriously? I know a lot of big words. Remember me? The kid with the thesaurus? And I have no idea what these ones mean.
I do, on the other hand, know what ‘belies’ means, and she totally uses it wrong at least twice. Come on, editrices. Where were you on that one? In fact, where were you from page one? If there’s one thing Invisible Kingdom could use, it’s some vigorous editing. Serious, machete-in-the-jungle editing. The kind that this post will probably need.
Moving on! ‘She actually looked interested in my response, revealing an even, pearly smile of patiences as she waited for my response.’ ‘Food disappeared into invisible mouths shielded by the black curtains covering their mysterious mouths.’ I’m going to let these stand on their own.
You know what else stands on its own? This: ‘Swelling with a ripe, turgid rage he prepared to ejaculate his fury upon us.’ (Sentence ghost-written by Kathleen O’Reilly, who forgot that she was describing a religious authority and not a dong.)
One last quick example before I stopped making note of them (it takes way longer to read a book when you’re having to find a pen every two minutes): ‘Here everyone traveled by car…even the poorest of the poor, the foreign laborers, relied on rickety cycles.’ If ‘cycles’ is short for ‘bicycles,’ last I checked, a bicycle is not a car. I’m just sayin.
Ok, aside from all the WTF-words, misused words, and men-as-penises words, the action in Invisible Women crawled. This may have something to do with the two-and-a-half page description of giving a woman a shot, or with the endless repetition, or with the adjectives oh the adjectives. And then the generalizations, the exposed and unaddressed biases, the condescension. I’m not saying that I don’t have these things, but I’m not writing a book.
This post is getting rull long, so I’m going to cut myself off now. Read not the book, folks. Save your brains for brighter days.
One lone caterpillar.
Disclaimer: I got this book for free from Danielle at Sourcebooks, who is hella awesome. Girl is going to stop sending me books soon and mayhap mail me a bottle of Death iffen I don’t stop trashing her company’s books. Sorry, Danielle! Let’s still be friends!