Jennifer Hillier

What? This is a true story?

Jun 14, 2010 | Uncategorized

I’ve been reading so much fiction lately that I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a non-fiction book.  That all changed this weekend, when I finally finished the wonderfully macabre escapist romp that is DEARLY DEVOTED DEXTER (by Jeff Lindsay) and dove into Geneen Roth’s WOMEN, FOOD AND GOD.

I won’t go into too many details about the premise of the book.  But I will say that it’s a much different experience reading a non-fiction book after almost a year of reading nothing but fiction, because the author’s view are all over it!  I know that’s a silly statement, because Duh Jenny That’s So Obvious, so let me explain.

Because I’m so used to reading stories that are Made Up, it’s almost jarring when the author very plainly tells me what she believes about relationships, why people are fat, and yes, what she thinks about God.  As a fiction writer, I work really hard to keep my own views out of my work.  They inevitably seep in sometimes, but hopefully I’ve done a good enough job telling you a fictional story to convince you that the views in my work belong to the characters, and not necessarily to me.

But I’m enjoying this book.  Roth’s voice is very distinctive and engaging, and she makes her views clear without shoving them down your throat.  I find I have to pause every couple of pages, just to let what she’s saying sink in, and there’s so much to digest that I’ll probably have to read the book again before I’m able to process it all.

It’s a different reading experience than what I’ve let myself get used to.  I’m not being carried away in an adrenaline-charged thriller where the characters are the narrators of the story.  Here, the author is speaking to me, and I have to think about what she’s trying to tell me.  I have to figure out if her insights fit with my own beliefs and, if they do, how they fit.  In most ways, I feel like I’m the one doing all the work.

Which, since I’m the reader, is nice for a change.