I just finished reading “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” written by Michael Chabon. I started reading it on the flight back from my honeymoon and have been hooked ever since. Now I must admit that I am not (unfortunately) one of those avid readers of novels that get hooked easily. But only this book and one other (“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer) have had that overwhelming affect on me in which I will stay up until the wee hours of the morning, glued to each passing sentence. I’ve had a few “anxiously awaiting the next time I will have a few quiet moments to open up to the next chapter” books in my life but this book brought “interest” to an entirely new level. In fact, I (embarrassingly) denied a good night of dancing with my girlfriends simply because the place in the novel was “just too good” to leave!
I’m not going to give you a summary of the book because I actually don’t believe the story itself to be that strong. If you want a strong story, read my other obsession “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and make sure to have a few tissues nearby. The strongsuit of the novel is Chabon’s writing style. A writing style so in-tune with human nature and the intricacies of thoughts, that I felt like I really knew the characters.
My problem with a lot of novels and blockbuster movies is that I feel like they are so easily manipulative. They almost force you into feeling emotions by throwing every cliché, disturbing, monumental, saddening scenario at you. This style is so starkly different from Chabon. A friend asked me, “So what happened in the book?” The more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that the story wasn’t too interesting on its own. But the way that each character was so magically formed and described made me really care for them. Take these five wonderful characters with their flaws and strengths and put them in a small city together and you’ve got a wonderful exploration of what it’s like to simply live.
So the next time you’re in the mood for a good read, I encourage you to pick up something from Michael Chabon. I can’t promise you’ll love it – especially if you find yourself drawn to more fast-moving stories. This one will definitely slow you down but it will leave you thinking differently. I’m off to start on his more renowned book “The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”.