by Brian Kimberling
I didn\’t care for this one much. It\’s a novel but reads more like a halfhearted memoir, some of the incidents are so odd and displaced they must have happened to a real person, and there\’s very little plot per se. The main character drifts through life, mooning over a girl who never really pays much attention to him, works in the field for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counting birds and monitoring their nest sites. The part about his job- I appreciate that he liked his low-paying position, being outside, better than a move up the ladder would have been, putting him in an office analyzing the data- was interesting, but there simply wasn\’t enough of it. Likewise one of the more interesting side characters- a woman he met who\’d had lyme disease that caused neurological damage disabling her arms and hands- was only present in a few scenes. Further on in the book he moves to Vermont for a job in a raptor rehabilitation center- another part I would have liked to read more about- but the work is hardly mentioned as he doesn\’t like raptors. Observations of eagles and hawks from his songbird-watching job in the forestry service made that clear.
Most of it is really descriptions of odd daily happenings and people around in him in southern Indiana. Which make it sound like a dismal place to live. He\’s rather disparaging of the people and place. Of Texas, too. Perhaps it\’s supposed to be funny, but the few times I caught the humor, I already knew the joke so it fell rather flat. One of the oddest scenes was when his dog found a large bone in a cemetary- he guessed it was a human femur- and he couldn\’t figure out what to do with it, so took it home. Another part is about his friend\’s disappointment with his work in library sciences. There are parts about meeting up with people he\’d known in high school, and realizing he doesn\’t like them, or they don\’t have anything in common anymore. Awkward scenes. One includes the other guy catching and teasing a snapping turtle. The guy got what he deserved.
I started skipping some pages just to get to parts that I felt were more worth reading. In the end it\’s all just really lackluster and leaves you wondering what\’s the point. Oh well.
Rating: 2/5 210 pages, 2013