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I'm not a kid anymore...
on May 21, 2013
As a young reader, Michael Crichton was my first taste of adult fare. I was eight when I read `Jurassic Park' (or there abouts) and I went right into `The Andromeda Strain' and then `Congo' and then `Sphere' and so on. My father would read them ahead of me, marking out all the curse words and leaving me with hallowed out paragraphs, but it didn't matter. I loved reading these deeply structured science fiction novels that spouted off jargon I couldn't understand and featured dinosaurs ripping people to pieces. It was exciting. In my adulthood, I've pretty much abandoned Crichton's novels. The last novel of his I read was `Timeline', when I was seventeen, and I realized that what was once exciting and challenging in my youth has become somewhat cringe-worthy in my adulthood.
Crichton's novels, while certainly not directed at young adults (what, with all the sex, violence and language) are written like they are.
My issue with `Disclosure', and really most of Crichton's work, is that he wrote in a very childish way, especially when he was mapping out sections of dialog. These characters talk in a very ridiculous way and fail to communicate in a productive manner. Let's forego the fact that Crichton likes to talk circles around the reader's head with his techno-babble. I'm talking about the way his characters say hello to one another. In `Disclosure' we have a character named Max who speaks in such a way I wanted to punch him in the face every time he was on the page. There is nothing wrong with giving your characters a personality. I encourage that. There is even place in these stories for characters who are annoying, but there is a limit. Then we have the relationship with Tom and his wife and that ridiculous obscenity laced lunch conversation about the harassment issue. Who talks to each other like that? Is that normal? I'm sorry, I fight with my wife a lot, but if we even had a scream fit like that, especially in public, I think I'd be filing for divorce. I'm not sure if Crichton was trying to make it melodramatic or something, but it left all believability at that point.
Regardless of my problems with Crichton's writing style itself, it shouldn't be ignored that Crichton writes books that are easy to read. Yes, despite the paragraphs bogged down by technical phrased and descriptions that no one understands, his books are breezy reads. `Disclosure' took me two days to read. Once I got to page 150 or so the book just took off in my hands and I found myself pulled into the story deeper and deeper, mostly because I really wanted to see how this was going to pan out. I was interested. The story being told was intriguing and the twists that Crichton worked in were compelling. I found his constant dissection of Tom's thinking process to be annoying, if we're going to be honest. The fact that Michael kept TELLING US OVER AND OVER that Tom was trying so hard to think back about what he had forgotten became redundant and made Tom appear stupid in parts because it was so obvious. I mean, how he forgot about a certain incident between he and Meredith was kind of ridiculous.
You don't forget something like that.
But, I regress, I think the biggest issue with a book like `Disclosure' is that it ultimately comes across extremely sexist and doesn't ever develop the themes it is trying to develop, at least not in a direct sense. There is certain talk about equality, but it is done in such an overbearing way (I mean, it comes up in nearly EVERY conversation, which makes no sense and feels staged) that it fails to really make an impact. The actions of the primary woman are despicable, and the actions of the men in her corner are just as despicable, making their particular stance on equality corrupt.
It almost feels like a book against equality.
So, yeah, this isn't very good despite being very readable, if that makes any sense.