Sunday, March 1, 2009

"The Invisibles" and Eleven on Top

1. The short story I chose for this week was “The Invisibles” by Hugh Sheehy. Character development for the story was minimal. We received a description of the two friends and the van. They seemed to be flat characters but this was necessary so that we would have an impression of what an invisible is. The characters of Eleven on Top were vibrant and jumped off the page. They brought vivid and bright pictures to my mind. The plots in both the short story and novel were pretty straight forward and wrapped up nicely. Who wouldn’t want to ram their car into the person who had just kidnapped you? The short story is set in a non-descript suburb and the novel was set in New Jersey mostly in the suburbs. Both have situations that upset the people in the suburbs. The theme in the short story was the disappearance and murder of two teens by a serial killer. This was a similar theme in the novel but it was more about greed. Con and his buddies robbed a truck in the army and Con used all the money. He killed his buddies when they wanted their share of the money. Once again greed is the reason for killing.
I think both stories were good just the way they were. The novel was the right length and wrapped things up nicely and so did the short story. I think the short story could have been turned into a novel if it focused on the serial killer.
I really enjoyed both stories this week because the novel was light, humorous and showed a new way to approach a disappearance. The short story was made me think of dark and evil which is what a serial killer is.
2. My short story author was a male and I found that the descriptions and emotions that female authors write with were not apparent in the story. He wrote about a female teenager but did not really but in any angst that most teenagers experience. This was a story about how some people are overlooked in society. Eleven on Top, on the other hand, was full of description and situations that brought vivid pictures to mind. When I was reading “The Invisibles” I pictured everything in black and white. I liked both the short story and the novel this week. Both authors did a good job with what they were trying to portray.
3. This was a story about a teenage girl whose mother disappeared when she was younger. Her mother used to tell her that their family were invisibles. These are people that are often overlooked in life. People that no one notices in a crowd. They just seem to blend in. She also told her daughter that only invisibles see invisibles. Her two friends disappear and she tells the police she saw a van but no one else saw the van. She tried to explain to the police about invisibles. They are not sure what to think. I did like this story. It did have a mystery and a murder. Two teens disappear and they find them dead. I was surprised by the ending because I was not expecting what the police found. The author wrapped it up nicely and made me feel that maybe the girl and her family would be ok. This is the best short story I have read so far.
4. I think that I’ve noticed from reading these novels that women are never portrayed as truly strong and independent in their own right. They are seen as bitchy, flaky, needy, helpless, rude, or bitter. We have not seen a female character yet that is not harassed or patronized by men. Most of the male characters seem to give women the virtual pat on the head and smile condescendingly at them. I would really like to find a female character that all the other characters like and respect and she also is strong and independent.
5. I was very surprised at the number of people who did not appreciate Eleven on Top. I wonder if we had started with the first book in the series if results would have been different. With so much stress, crime, worries and everything else that life throws at us I enjoy reading about someone who has it way worse than me. I never have to worry about my car blowing up or some crazed psycho trying to kill. I also have a safe job and don’t have to worry about landing in trash, keeping a crazy grandmother from going off the chain, deciding between two delectable men, and keeping my family under control. My life is pretty bland which is why I enjoy reading about others who have a rough time. Helps me appreciate all I have.

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