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The Host - Stephenie Meyer After a couple of nightmare slogs, it's time for some comfort food.


2010 Review

My brother is moving to New York in a couple of weeks, and it breaks my heart more than a little. I totally love that guy, and New York will be lucky to have him. It’s really far away, though. I went to pick him up in Bend a few weeks back so that he could use my car for a weekend, and I got the audio version of this book at the library on my way there. I picked it up because I totally freaking love this book, even though none of the book makes that much sense if you think about it for, like, two seconds. I have even loved this audio experience, though it is just about the worst audio in the whole wide world, and the reader does maybe every single thing that bugs me. Anyway, there are some books I could read whenever: [b:Wuthering Heights|6185|Wuthering Heights|Emily Brontë|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348940572s/6185.jpg|1565818], [b:Our Mutual Friend|31244|Our Mutual Friend|Charles Dickens|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320488035s/31244.jpg|2888469]. I can’t defend myself about this, but I think The Host is in that group.

Meyer’s people all live in some kind of graphic novel, with their gaping, grimacing, hissing, eye bulging, and clenching of teeth. I know, no one hisses, do they? And then there is the problem about the first person narrator always being able, somehow, to see the nuances of people’s emotions through their eyes, no matter how far away the person is standing, or how little blocking sense that actually makes in a given room or tunnel or cave. And we won’t even talk about how awful the names are. I know about that, too. Whatever, haters, I don’t care. I totally freaking love this book.

The audio book is, and I’m not kidding, 23.5 hours long. I’m not even done with it. I’m actually still listening to it right now, but I know how it ends because I've read it before, so don't get up in my grill tautologically about the inherent worth in the work itself and my duties as an audience. Anyway, the reader of the audio book really savors every word. Very dramatic, you know. She totally kills me. I missed a lot of the first half because my brother listened to it over the weekend when he had the car. He came back gaping, grimacing, hissing, and generally making fun of it. His eyes really bulged and glinted with mirth, and all that. We listened to it together, driving back to Bend, and there was a lot more clenching of teeth from his side of the car.

I don’t know. We’ve all talked to death the problems with the Meyer writing and the Meyer love story and the Meyer world building. I realized, though, that in all honesty Meyer does write something that really touches me: families. I think her families are so comforting, even in their conscious mish-mashiness. True, her heroines want to kill themselves so you’ll be happy, and that’s weird. But in this book, for example, the heroine’s (heroines’?) love of her brother and her adopted family is something genuine and something that I totally dig.

I mean, obviously, this book is awesome because it has sweet, cuddly body snatchers, and that allows for a love triangle with only two bodies and then, later, a love quadrangle with only three bodies. No funny business, though. All PG here, gang. And, the love geometry stays pretty polite the whole time; no obnoxious LOST stuff going on. The other kind of cool thing about this book is that it passes the Bechtel test because there are, like, two girls stuck in one body and they chat about things. They’re not Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton hatching women’s suffrage, or anything, but I’m not too demanding.

Anyway, family. Don’t tell my brother, but I’m a little torn up about him moving away. Very excited for him, but a little torn up. It’s been nice to listen to all the descriptions of how much this girl loves her brother and her adopted family in these extreme situations, where she has to run through the desert and battle renegade cave-dwellers for them. Don't get me wrong, it's ultimately pretty tame, but it's extreme in a sentimental, hearth-and-home way. I don’t know; it’s comforting. I don’t really care that it’s ridiculous in so many ways or that it’s broken up with tedious descriptions of food and every other little thing. Sue me. I think this book is probably Meyer’s best so far, just in a technical sense. It stands alone, which is a relief, and none of the characters are supposed to be perfect. The main character is a little annoying, in a doormat kind of way, but I’m still okay with her.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling you to read it. You’d probably freaking hate it. I was just getting sentimental about family, and so was Stephenie Meyer, so I thought I’d come here and tell you about it.