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The Blog: Book One Paperback – February 11, 2012
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Unfortunately for readers like myself, The Blog's author is not so much into producing literature--art for art's sake--as in teaching her doctrine, a talented writer with a political agenda, one given to unembarrassed propaganda first and literature second. And propaganda is acceptable as a genre, but it does demand some lack of information on the part of its audience, and, one might hope, some probity of the author. Think Uncle Tom's Cabin. The story before us is manipulative, it wants to convince us of the depravity of modern morals, to link today's sacrilege to disregard and an almost universal misunderstanding of America's Revolutionary leaders, America's divinely inspired Constitution, and America's history. Enter the devil in the form of the revisionist historian. Ms. Hanchett detests the study of the humanities in university curricula, especially American History. On this subject she fills her text with a vitriol sharp enough to etch glass. She gives not so much as a nod toward the contributions to the field made by the German philosopher Hegel who, like America, was born in the latter part of the 18th century. It is Hegel who is largely responsible for our present understanding of the uses to which history may be subjected--after the school of Hegel, no one should confuse history and theology, fact and legend.
Abigail, the novel's protagonist, seems to suffer from an inability to distinguish between the two. She becomes rhapsodic when she speaks of The Making of America, a presentation attended at the Mesa Arts Center which, as it turns out, is a direct causal link in her coming to the following conclusion: "Perhaps there is something to the conspiracy theory that there are those who are hell-bent on redefining what America was and should be." A few lines later she bemoans, "The false things being taught about America's history." As an aside, no American with a speck of respect for this country can watch The Miracle of America and not get choked up; but on the other hand, no American with a speck of rationality can confuse the pageantry with the history. Like a mink coat, The Blog's shimmering view of America's foundational experience might please the eye, but the beauty contained in its carefully selected citations belies a rough-edged, blood splattered past. If in the coat's early history there was a shot of cyanide, a greasy hide lying on a skinning table, and a puny carcass carelessly tossed in a gunnysack, that is all dismissed as irrelevant by the lady wrapped in the expensive garment. So, too, in The Blog America's past is no longer history--the drudgery associated with digging up data and subjecting it to rigorous analysis. Within the novel's pages "history" becomes what we want it to be, something that inspires, something that deserves not critical analysis but reverence. America's heroes and their deeds are always already pre-washed, pasteurized, spread over a mink-board and made lovely to look at by preceding generations of jingoists.
Here is the context of The Blog: 22 year old Abigail Houston is a college senior who finds herself on an Eastern university campus, maybe Duke or the University of North Carolina, taking American history under "ultra elitist" Professor Ivor and to add salt to the wound, she is hounded by an old boyfriend who still holds it against her for not letting him have sex with her after their high school prom. The chap is a Gothic (read follower of "Lucifer," Abby's word, not mine) and we will see how evil this Gothic is as the novel progresses toward its climax. Abigail wasn't brought up to deal with these sorts; she hasn't learned to say damn. Vexed she says, "Crumb!" Yet, and this is remarkable given her innocence, she is quite capable of taking on Ivor, the Goth and all the university hounds of hell who want to stop her in her tracks. She with the instrument of her blog will succeed in revealing the evils of the godless left, their distortion of history, their satanic conspiracy to bury, once and for all, our final freedoms.
Abigail's love interest is one Elijah Morningstar, Cherokee Indian, Harvard graduate, handsome stud-Democrat who believes "the false things being taught about America's history." Elijah Morningstar Turner is being groomed by the local North Carolina Democratic conspiracy to become a future U.S. President. Lucifer, in his use of Democratic helpers, needs Elijah's support.
For the record, Morningstar's parents were both alcoholics; the boy was raised by his grandmother on a reservation in North Carolina. She came from a long line of Shamans. [sic] Like Celtic Druids of old--who she believed were of common Israeli ancestry--the candidate for the priesthood in former times found it necessary to cultivate a long memory, (20) [I'm quite incapable of unpacking this unhappy sentence, and I am certain the author is tired of having it thrown up in her face ad nauseam.]
Here is my subversive reading of the subtext: Abigail, a sweet kit with a psychological disorder commonly referred to as acute paranoia, feels everybody is out to get her. Still, she knows she has a God given claim on The Truth, and she will proclaim that truth by her personal and public actions, i.e., writing a blog that will set the world straight on a number of social issues, but basically a blog that will proclaim the extent to which America has always been God's project: America is The Light unto the Nations.
Her psychological disorder leads to any number of problems. In Professor Ivor she sees antagonism. In reality he is probably just another aging historian dedicated to his particular specialty, which is sifting through what is left of the fecal and culinary remains from behind the mansion at Mt. Vernon and the outhouses associated with the slave cabins in search of hard, physical evidence, the only theme that has been on his mind since the mid 80s when he started this project: the question of whether and to what extent the British blockade of Virginia's harbors during the American Revolutionary Wars materially and qualitatively affected the lives of the folks at home living on the Virginia plantation while the Future President was away at Valley Forge.
Elijah, unlike the eponymous prophet of Northern Israel, meets his Jezebel in Abigail. But this time there is no fire sent from Heaven, there is no exodus from the unholy city, there is no escaping death and being carried away in a fiery chariot. Abigail is a modern Captain Ahab hell-bent on destroying the life-force that might have saved her from herself. She seduces this Harvard Indian by her madness, leads him to abandon reason, convinces him that his mission is not to help the oppressed as another Democrat politician on the fast track to fortune, but to join her, the nutty, gnawing eternally on the bone of negation. (One can imagine Elijah removing his red, white, and blue lapel pin--so popular with today's desperate politicos--and learning from Abby and his own visionary experiences what his new life will be: organizing receptions and pushing election brochures.) It's a tragedy. That other Elijah character from Melville's novel should have given this poor old woodenhead warning--there are some with no soul to be lost in the search of the great white whale.
Disclosure statement: I am--or at least was before I wrote this--a friend of the author. The only blog I have ever followed, and this explains my limitations, is one entitled "Ask Mormon Girl."
If you are just a lover of God and country this is a book for you and even if you have mixed feelings about the country or God but wonder how people can believe so strongly in someone they can not see or why we think morality is so important read it. Why do Christians want to share what they know with their friends, family and even strangers? It's well written and flows so well. You get politics, religion, unexpected plot twists, romance, conflict, and much more!
We are seeing a lot of what Abby blogs about actually happening. I have seen interviews with college students that clearly illustrate the effect liberal universities are having on them. God's role in our history has been removed from our history books and the Constitution is in danger from liberal politicians.
In The Blog , Carolyn Hanchett covers these issues, Abby sees the problems in the country and boldly blogs about it and talks about it in class at the risk of her life and her relationship with liberal politician Elijah Morningstar. She shows no fear in expressing her beliefs, and the things she learns about about people and organizations that are quietly destroying America.
I appreciated Elijah's loyalty to Abby, despite his liberal leanings and his doubts about the existence of God.
The Blog is a perfect blend of romance, danger and politics. The ending is totally unexpected. I had a hard time putting it down to do other necessary things, like sleeping.
I recommend this book for adults and older teens
I love to read MANY genres of books. I find myself to be up-to-date politically too. However, this book did not "grab" me at all. I know it takes a few chapters to really get into a book sometimes. With The Blog though, that "grab moment" never came. It is very slow paced and Hanchett's writing style is boring. Even the last few chapters I felt like I was just getting through them just to finish it. This book evoked no emotion in me at all until the very last two paragraphs.
Also, perhaps Hanchett needs to find another editor? I could not believe how many grammatical and typographical errors there were in this book!! I felt like I was reading a rough draft of one of my high school English papers. TERRIBLE EDITING!
It takes a lot for me to give a book one star, and I will not read another book written by this author.
UPDATED after comment from the author:
That is good that's been corrected. It would be nice to somehow let buyers know that on Amazon? That that particular edition has those mistakes and it's been corrected. I believe I could change my rating up to 3 stars now. Thanks for the reply!
My favorite part of the book was the "blogs" Abby posted. This is where Hanchett's true writing style shined through! Keep writing, Carolyn, we're waiting to see what Abby and Elijah will do next, and who will stop at nothing to thwart their endeavors to keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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