Sunday, July 5, 2009

Readers' advisory & spoilers

I was in Ithaca for the holiday weekend, visiting the bf's alma matter with him and his friends. For that reason, I forwent Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library for some more bus-friendly reading, Lisa See's Peony in Love. Hence, this post isn't about RA element No. 2, characterization. That's still tk, after I learn it.

So, the blurbs and the description on the back of the book give away the plot point (revealed only after nearly 100 pages) that the narrator is narrating from the grave. She's dead. And, I failed to read the back of the book, having grabbed it at a BEA event last year and deciding then it was worth reading. When I packed last week, I simply thought "Historical fiction. Not too long. Perfect to read on a bus."

The point is, when I found out the narrator died, I was tremendously sad, tearing up and forgetting about the stop-and-go traffic, 7 hours of sitting, and the bus bathroom with no sink or flushing capabilities. The book was way more profound and affecting without knowing for the first 100 pages what was to come.

And I'm thinking, wouldn't an RA talk that revealed the sad mood of this book take something away from it (granted, if this spoiler hadn't already been revealed on the book jacket)? It made me think: Is this ever a concern in readers' advisory? Tones change throughout books, and will telling a reader this is sad color her reading of the beginning of the book (which is romantic, hopeful, and has a character easy to relate to, sympathetic, and likable)?

I'll let you know if I discover an answer.

No comments:

Post a Comment