Monday, April 09, 2007

Prot. U

If you're looking for a book that spoofs collegiate life with an emphasis on student journlism, I highly recommend not reading Prot U by my former newspaper advisor, Eva Rumpf. If you want an exercise in how to write a poorly told, wafer-thin story which involves equally thin, borderline non-existant characters, some of whom don't ever interact with the primary storyline, told by someone clearly looking down their nose at their subject matter, then this is the book for you.

It helps that its less than 200 pages, only about 10 of which I'd point to as "solid." The rest is just a mess of skimmed-over story without any depth to it whatsoever. I can hear Eva's objection right now: "But it's supposed to be satire!"

True, which means it should also bring The Funny while saying something meaningful. Here's a newsflash, Eva: You are not funny, nor have you ever been funny, and I can't recall a single time when you said anything I'd place on a pedestal and label as "Important."

But setting aside the personal baggage, let's examine the actual book. It's 173 pages long and takes place over the course of a full academic year. Here's the first sentence of February:
"The line outside Flowers to Go stretched all the way down the block, mingling jocks, scholars and frat boys who waited impatiently to purchase the Valentine special, one dozen red roses for $59.99."
If you're writing a book, actually paying for an editor is a good thing to budget for. Also, when certain characters are nothing more than soulless archtypes who revolve around the story without ever directly affecting it this tells me that the author missed his/her own point. It doesn't help matters when the main characters themselves are so thinly crafted that they deserve labels in place of names.

The star would be "Idealistic Senior - Male." The co-stars would be listed thusly: "Idealistic Advisor - Female;" "Idealistic Love Interest - Female;" "Spineless Dean (Authority Figure) - Male;" "Nefarious Rancher (Bad Guy) - Male." It goes from there and commits the cardinal sin of being boring. Skip this.


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