How Yarn Works

Oh, y’all, I forgot to tell you that I finished American Elsewhere. It was fine. It’s fantastic for the first 5/8ths of the book and then is just good. And I don’t know why that was so disappointing to me, but it was.

BUT it does contain the most hilarious misstep in the characterization of a character ever. I mean, hands down, ever. About 5/8ths into the book, we are told that the main character is an avid crocheter. So avid that she even crochets clothing. And yet, though her movements in this little town are well-described and the important detail of the town is that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to leave, never once has she either gone looking for a place to acquire yarn or panicked about whether she could live in a place where she couldn’t at least get some RedHeart.

I just wanted to take the author aside and be all “Dude, that’s not how it works.”

I mean, it’s like throwing in a detail about how your character is a major stoner at the end. Oh, really? Then where has all the pot been all this time? Where’s his bong?!

Anyway, it’s not a meaningful detail that somehow kills the book. It’s just a funny moment when you realize that the author doesn’t understand a trait he’s just given his character.

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4 thoughts on “How Yarn Works

  1. I figured you finished up with it. Just got a notice that it’s available for check-out on my hold shelf.

  2. AHa ha ha ha! She’d at least be scouring thrift stores for unravelling candidates. Drug of choice never mentioned? Fail. (Although in fairness, maybe she has a stash the size of K-2.)

  3. I thought about the stash, but the author’s pretty explicit about how light she’s traveling. It’s funny, because it really is a perfect hobby for her to have in a lot of ways–she seems like someone who would really find it soothing, who would appreciate the rhythms of it, and who would probably prefer to wear stuff she made over store-bought.

    But the author and editor clearly didn’t think about what all was implied in that little detail. Which is especially a shame because the protagonist’s mom is… how do I put this without spoiling things? Let’s say that she’s a bit of a crafter, herself, who loves to make things and then, if necessary, destroy them. There was definitely an opportunity for thematic interest that was missed. Which, honestly, was my whole problem with the last part of the book. I wanted to know more about how the protagonist was dealing with learning about her mom. I also wished she’d had some mixed feelings of sympathy for her.

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