Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Book Review: Initiation

Haich, Elisabeth, (2000). Initiation. Santa Fe: Aurora Press.
Photo source: LibraryThing

Initiation is a strange book. A novel set as an autobiography of a bodhisattva, it hits all points of the readability spectrum.

  • The description of life through a child’s eyes is captivating and humorous. I loved this child and could not put the book down during this phase.
  • The adolescent girl really annoyed me, again capturing the self-centeredness, depth and shallowness of adolescence. I did not like the character very much at this point, but I wanted to see her grow up.
  • Unfortunately, by the time the novel describes the woman as a young adult, the author devolves into preachiness. I no longer cared about the character because she flattened out, becoming a mere tool for a message spiritual message Haich wanted to convey.

While dialog was never Haich’s strong suite, when the character enters adulthood, conversation becomes stilted. The plot sickens, and the author falls into preachiness. I put the book down one night when I got sleepy—once the character became an adult, it becomes very easy to put the book down and go to sleep—and I haven’t been able to make myself pick it back up again.

It is sad that this was Haich’s only work of fiction. This novel shows her potential. Writers aren’t supposed to reach their potential with their first novel. Unfortunately, Initiation was published six years after her death.


DianeS said...

I love the phrase "the plot sickens". Yeah, I've read books like that. Or, started reading them. I tend not to finish them, either. I figure I've got a finite amount of time left to read in this life and I don't want to waste it on books I don't enjoy!

Lee said...

Mel Brooks was right when he said that old jokes never die. I think Arte Johnson was the first person I ever heard say, “Und ze plot sickens.”

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