J. Better Come Through...

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"This is some far-out shit, this is a fucking ironic way to" (76).

I would like to start out that, though I am thus far unsure whether or not I am going to like this book, I really appreciate it when authors do not shy away from the nitty-gritty language that people use every day, especially in the dialogue of their characters... it makes things seem more real. It also makes me feel like I am reading a story intended for more mature audiences and that I am not being "spoken down to" by the author... a feeling that truly aggravates me like no other. So, at least in this regard, Colson Whitehead is OK in my book. 

Yes, for those of you reading this... I did lead in with that quote because I really couldn't find any other specific one that I wanted for a blog and decided to have a mini-blog regarding it... now... to the story. I enjoy that J. Sutter, the main character, is a journalist, a career that I actually hope to hold one day, asigned to cover the John Henry Days festival. While J. Sutter is described as an "inveigler of invites and slayer of crudités, this drink ticket fondler and slim tipper, open bar opportunist, master of vouchers, queue-jumping wrangler of rangler of reciepts" (56), I genuinely hope that J. will eventually grow in the story to overcome these stereotypical cliches that are often associated with the typical, cynical journalist. I always get slightly defensive when people make stereotypical comments about something that I am or hope to one day be... sorry. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really hope that J. manages to fulfill this shattering of stereotypes because I feel that whether he does or not will have great impact on how I end up feeling about the book overall.

On a lighter note, I do usually enjoy books that intertwine historical events and a modern-day plot so I hope there will me more to come about John Henry himself... only time will tell, however... 

3 Comments

Melissa Schwenk said:

Cody, I think that J. will definitely grow as a character throughout the book. So far we see him already going with the changes by deciding to get his articles published online and working with Time Warner. The choking incident may also play a role in how he views eating at convetions to the point that maybe he'll stop being so tight on his money. He already seems like he isn't like most of the other reporters. He generally seems more into what he is doing than Tiny or Frenchie, but maybe Whitehead just hasn't shown us enogh about these other characters for a good assessment to be made. So I'm not entirely sure.

Aja Hannah said:

J. could change and grow, but he could also stay cynical and stereotypical and it could lead to his downfall or a revelation (which I suppose then would lead him to change and grow).

Cody Naylor said:

Melissa and Aja, I agree with both of you, kind of. The more I was thinking about it, the more I came to realize that parallels between John Henry and J. are bound to come up in the story. I think that J.'s stereotypical confidence and cynicism as a reporter that you mentioned Aja may actually stay with him throughout the book and lead to a downfall for him just as John Henry's confidence in his ability eventually led to his... but this is just a theory.

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