I Am Not A Quitter
I have issues leaving things incomplete. Only my mom can say for sure if I’ve always been this anal but as I get older I find myself even more obsessed with making sure everything is fully finished and checked off my list.
Example A: If I plan to run 30 minutes on the treadmill, you better believe that I won’t leave the gym until that machine reads an even 30 minutes. I physically cannot stop, even if I’m nearing death until the timer hits 30. 29.59? Not going to happen unless someone carries me out on a stretcher. And in that event, knowing that I skipped a second of my workout will probably kill me quicker than my injuries will.
Example B: When I decide to organize or clean something (and this happens often) I won’t take a break until the project is completely finished. Maya can attest to this after she helped organize my closet a few weeks ago. (Okay, I’ll admit she took a short, unauthorized break but I made allowances due to her age. When she turns 5 next month? There will be no more excuses for her behavior.)
Example C: A few years ago I had this great idea to channel my inner Christian Siriano by sewing Maya a dress to wear on Thanksgiving. Easier said than done. I was hunched over my mom’s sewing machine for so long that my mom likened conditions in my condo to those of a sweatshop. But I was determined to finish it. And finish it I did:
Don’t worry Christian, I think it’s safe to say that I’m no competition. Although my kid is pretty cute.
Anyway, so we’ve established that I can’t leave things undone. That’s why it pains me to say that I could not finish Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan.
Since some of my favorite books are human interest stories this one seemed right up my alley, and I was thrilled to receive it for Christmas. The book is comprised of five short stories all narrated by children, capturing the horrible and often painful realities of those living and struggling in Africa. I started reading it right after Christmas and so it upsets me to admit that nearly two months later I am only finished with the first story. And I simply cannot go on.
The main problem with this book is the author’s writing style. Talk about confusing! Uwem Akpan, a Jesuit priest from Nigeria utilizes an odd French-English hybrid that I find impossible to follow. The fact that the author has an MFA in creative writing baffles me even further because the dialogue, the characters, and the timing is all very confusing and disjointed. Frankly, I am amazed that this book received such kudos by the reading community. How is this a bestseller? Other than the fact that Oprah put her stamp of approval on it I have no idea.
While I do believe the topic is relevant and important, I don’t understand how the average reader is supposed to make heads or tails of this book. All I know is that I simply can’t.
Per Ali the world will not come crashing down if I leave this book unfinished and for once I listened to his advice. So I am now a quitter. I hear that quitting one thing can result in a domino effect. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if I stop finishing other books. Or if I quit making dinner. Or if I refrain from doing laundry.
I bet Ali will live to regret his advice.
Have you ever been excited to read a book but couldn’t get through it?