Friday, October 26, 2012


Dear Temple,
I hope this note finds you well and happy. I am not a proud man today Temple. I have given up. It's time I let you in on a little secret that I've kept since middle school. I tried this week to go back on what my heart has told me over and over for so long, but it is not meant to be.
I, Justin Hunter, hate James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans. I hated this book every time I've attempted to like it, and there have been several.
I should really like this book. I am well-read. I love the classics and what is more famous or classic than this work by Cooper? Not much. I love the movie and the book is always better than the movie, isn't it?
I finished Gore Vidal's Lincoln and found myself staring at my built-in bookshelves looking for my next read. I saw the book and thought to give it another chance. You see, Temple, this book makes me feel stupid. Why don't I like it? Is there something wrong with me? Am I not learned enough to find joy in such a weighty tome?
I went in search of the answer at the library. I know I didn't have to go to the library. I have a beautifully bound copy at home. But I've tried to get into the book so much that I was bringing out the big guns, audio book style. Whenever I've had trouble getting into a book, my last resort is listening to it on CD. I can put it on when I'm on the treadmill, working on the car, doing the dishes or whatever. I've 'read' a lot of books this way I wouldn't have otherwise.
So this week I came home with all sixteen CD's of The Last of the Mohican's unabridged (that means they don't cut out anything).
I listened to the first three CD's and hate the book now more than ever. BUT NOW I KNOW WHY. I'm older now Temple and that makes me wiser. I knew I hated this book when I was a kid, but I couldn't put my finger on why. Now I can. The pacing is terrible. Cooper flowers his words more than an old lady splashes on rose water. His inability to use words less than three syllables make the pace of the reading seem as slow and jumbled as driving over a ten mile stretch of speed bumps. If this didn't hurt the reader enough, he's added footnotes and sequences of French which is akin to learning how to drive a manual car. You just get the thing going and it dies suddenly, like the book, it's hard to pick up again.
Things happen so slowly it makes the reader want to die. Cooper gives advance notice to any and all action, then has lengthy conversations and illustrious paragraphs about character's turning their heads, that you are sick on the action before it even happens. You cousin Elijah said it best, I had it on while we were doing homeschool.
"What are they doing in the story?" He said.
"They got out of the river and are talking," I said.
"They've been doing that a long time," He said.
"I know."
"They are talking about the same stuff. They aren't doing anything. Aren't they in trouble?" He said.
"They are supposed to be," I said.
"This is the worst book ever."
I agree.
I love you much and miss you always,
                         Uncle Justin

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