Smiles and positive posts are all well and good, but sometimes I need to vent a bit. How about you? That’s what The Monday Peeve is all about, a chance to blow off a little steam at the beginning of the week, so then we can go merrily on our way once again (hah). I’ll pick a topic that’s on my mind, but you can vent about whatever you please, here in comments or on your own blog. Grab the photo, use the TMP tag, link back to me (or not), and Bob’s yer uncle. I do reserve the right to delete any links that offend my delicate sensibilities. So far, none have, but it could happen. I have feelings!
Continuing with last week’s griping about novels, today I’m going to complain about the unreliable narrator. Now, in general, I like this concept and when it’s done right, it’s awesome. Two great examples are Gone Girl and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. But lately it’s been my misfortune to have waded through several utterly crappy books with unreliable narration. Usually we have a woman, on the run from Scary Man. She keeps finding hints that Scary Man is coming after her. Oh no! The story flashes in and out from the present time, where she’s trying to make a new life for herself but can’t tell anyone her Big Secret, and the past, where she was subjected to some Horrific Thing. It’s all very exciting and I get caught up in wanting to see what happens.
But then we reach the end and it’s all a lie. There is no Scary Man. The Big Secret is a big nothing. Horrific Thing was a random accident. Everything the narrator said to us was BS. Ugh no. I feel cheated. Like I read all that way to find out it was just a dream.
When you set up the unreliable narrator, you have to make the things she tells us come together in a way that makes sense later. Don’t end the story by saying neener, fooled you, psyche! That’s ridiculous. In particular, I’m talking about one book where the so-called abuser simply didn’t exist. Very uncool.
©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.