And this is the moment when I confess that I had to give up on Drood halfway through the book after spending three weeks of disliking the experience. Ok, so I’ve already mentioned this on twitter and told some of you on various blogs, but if you haven’t heard: the DroodAlong was the pits and even though I felt all of the guilt for abandoning this readalong, I had to keep my sanity.
Author: Dan Simmons
Narrator: John Lee
Published: 2009; Pages: 784
Audio Duration: 29 hrs; 59 min
Genre: Fiction (Historical?)
Rating: Dud. Or, Did Not Finish
In Short: Narrated by author Wilkie Collins, this contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens attempts to uncover the truth about the mysterious figure named Drood.
Why I Read/Listened: I’ve had this book on my shelf for years and even made it one of my 2014 Must Reads just to get it off that TBR shelf. So, naturally I offered up a readalong.
Thoughts in General: The premise of Drood is an interesting one. And I loved that the story was told from the eyes of Wilkie Collins. He takes us on a journey through subterranean London and gives us insight into Charles Dickens’s life. We learn about opium dens (which according to Wikipedia weren’t really a big deal in London) and the processes of writing a novel. Even the mystery of who Drood is was intriguing. And mesmerizing, hypnotizing, laudanum induced psychotic moments?
But. Our poor narrator Collins couldn’t stick to a topic. He droned on and on about things that didn’t matter. His narrative was tangential and meandering and I almost never cared what was going on in the book. It takes a lot of me to abandon a book, but I’m trying to be better about it and after spending weeks on Drood and only making it halfway (and dreading picking it back up), I knew it was time to move on. Perhaps there was a gem of a story buried within the text, but I don’t even care to look for spoilers about what the book is all about.
Bottom Line: Moving on! The upside of reading Drood? It made me interested to learn more about Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and various aspects of Victorian life. Though I can’t say I’m terribly interested in reading The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Dickens, I was reminded that I would like to continue reading through Dickens’s and Collins’s works. But off to the library donations my big giant hardback book goes.
Notes on the Audio: I listened to the unabridged audio version narrated by John Lee. Perhaps it is telling that Audible does not offer the unabridged version, so the link above is to the MUCH shorter version (10 hours versus 30) narrated by Simon Prebble. For what it’s worth, the narration by Lee was fantastic and had I cared a little more about the incessant ramblings of the fictional Wilkie Collins, I might have continued listening.
If you participated in the readalong and finished, you deserve the world’s biggest medal. Maybe you loved it. People do love this book. Don’t they? If you have a finale post, please include your link in the comments. If you didn’t write a finale, no worries–but I’d still love to know your thoughts in the comments (whether you finished or not).
What’s the next readalong? BAG OF BONES!!! By Stephen King. Just in time for Christmas. Grab your book/audio (King narrates!) because we’ll start December 1st. Who wants to come up with the catchy hashtag? Because BOBalong is all I got.