Friday, January 05, 2007

White Apples, by Jonathan Carroll

White Apples
Jonathan Carroll

A character I often fondly remember is Ellsworth Toohey from Ayn Rand's Fountainhead. As a literary critic, he delighted in championing utter shit and passing it off as literature, knowing the dumb public would eat it up like the sheep they are. The public can't tell a turd from a diamond, isn't that so? Apparently, according to those who've championed Carroll's latest literary bowel movement, White Apples.

Now, I don't know who Pat Conroy is (I have since been informed that he wrote The Prince of Tides...alllllllrighty then), nor do I know who writes book reviews for The Washington Post, but I have a sneaking suspicion they are Ellsworth in disguise. Pat Conroy had the balls to compare Jonathan Carroll to Dostoevski. DOSTOEVSKI? The man who gave us Raskolnikov? Prince Myshkin? I know--he also compared him to Calvino. I am so amazed that I have nothing funny to write about this. After sitting here endlessly thinking of a humorous analogy, I can only feel dismay that a work of such poor quality has received such glowing reviews. Maybe Conroy wants to know if anyone will call his bluff. Apparently not, as this book has received 3.5 stars on and an almost perfect score on

Well played, Mr. Conroy. Well played, indeed.

The Washington Post, double-dog dared by Pat Conroy to take the joke still further, wrote that we should -- and I quote directly here -- "fete him." Fete him??

Damn they have balls.

Anyway, a word or two about the book. Vincent Ettrich has died and come back to life. Why did he come back? He soon finds out he was brought back by his pregnant girlfriend, because their offspring will save the world and it needs Vincent's help to do it. Along the way, they encounter crazy creatures like the spirits of dead animals and the "Eef," which is -- and I am not making this up -- A BEING CREATED OUT OF THEIR ORGASM.

Simply put, this was the lamest book I ever read. In fact, his is the lamest author picture I've ever seen. I would hope he's about to cover his face in shame, but I somehow doubt he feels at all bad about writing White Apples.

In a nutshell: Utter garbage disguised to look like a book. Don't be a sucker.

Bibliolatry Scale: 0 out of 6 stars


Bibliolatrist said...

Mr. Hesselthwite, your 0 has arrived.

Anonymous said...

Any book reviewer who admits to her profound literary ignorance by admitting she doesn't know who Pat Conroy is (try an Internet search, to begin with. He wrote PRINCE OF TIDES and THE GREAT SANTINI, not bad titles in themselves), then misquotes Conroy re:Dostoevsky, and ends by saying that the author's photo is bad is nigh on to an idiot. Again, if you had done any kind of research before writing this review, you would have seen that Carroll has won every prize in the genre, sells in the millions worldwide, and has a huge following for his daily blog. You may not have liked his book but the quality of your "review" is so appalling that it doesn't make me trust your opinion at all.

Paul Selden, Powell's Books, Portland

Bibliolatrist said...

Well, Paul, I didn't want to do an internet search because I was appalled by his comment, and quite frankly, I didn't want to know more about him.

And, as a matter of fact, I didn't misquote him. He said, and I quote:

"Reading Jonathan Carroll is like watching The X-Files or The Twilight Zone if the episodes were written by Dostoevski or Italo Calvino."

Direct quote.

Regardless of what you may think, I do take the above quote as a direct comparison between Carroll and Dostoevski/Calvino, which, in my humble opinion, is SHAMEFUL.

And, again in my opinion (which is the point of my blog--the whole thing is my opinion), his picture is very pompous, so I will say what I like. So nanny nanny noo noo to you.

And, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, I am very MUCH aware that Carroll has won numerous awards. I don't care. Nor do I care that he sells millions of his books. Mitch Albom sells millions and has been at the top of the New York Bestseller List for months, and I defy anyone to compare him to Dostoevski. Despite the number of awards Carroll wins or the number of books he sells, I am not required to like White Apples, and I didn't.

If that makes me an idiot, then so be it. Why don't you read White Apples and then come back and tell me why I was wrong instead of complaining about my review.

Bibliolatrist said...

And, to continue after further thought, I don't understand why the fact that Carroll has sold millions, won numerous awards, and has a huge following for his blog should prevent me from writing a bad review. None of them have anything to do with the fact that I simply did not like the book.

For the record, I went on his blog and read a few entries before writing this review. We seem to have a few things in common. I'm sure he's a wonderful human being. He's doing what he loves in life. Good for him.

I still hated this book, and I stand by my opinion.

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

I stand here, knee bent, with a ring in hand... Will you?

I thoroughly enjoyed that review.

I've had the problem you are clearly having with this Seldon chappy myself when one of my fellow LMWN bloggers wrote a (completely impartial) piece about a demonstration in London against China's treatment of the Falung Gong. A commenter appears out of nowhere and lambastes you with a tone that suggests he doesn't quite get the article in the first place.

What I suspect happens is that authors and vested interests type the same searches daily into Technorati and monitor the blogosphere's response to their vested interest. Followed by attacking people who post things against this interest (we got some REALLY weird shit that I am sure was from the Chinese Government).

This guy is so obviously in the pay of the industry that I don't think he really deserves a response, but i'll give him one anyway.

We're bloggers asshole, we do not have to be all knowing, nor do we have to follow literary trends or publishing stats. Being amateurs give us a freedom you fuckers lack. That makes our opinion more valid than your institutionalised magazine reviewers, not less.

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Do you use a tool like Statcounter to monitor your readers? If he got here via a technorati/google search Statcounter would have registered the search string.

Then you can unmask him in true Scooby Doo fashion: Paul Seldon - you are in fact Jonathon Carroll.. "and I'd have got away with it if it hadn't been for you meddling bloggers".

Bibliolatrist said...

Yes, I do monitor my readers - and I believe your theories are pretty spot on ...

Thanks for the support :)

Kristin Dodge said...

Edwin, you crack me up.

Paul, didn't you get the memo? TIME magazine says that all of us are the person of the year. This means that yes, indeed, biblio. can express her opinion via her blog. And you have every right to disagree with her.

However, your approach needs a bit more tact. Send me your address and I'll deliver some.