I hereby invoke my right not to finish a book.
I hadn’t come across Daniel Pennac’s Rights of the Reader until Gretchen Rubin mentioned it on her blog yesterday. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been trying to make my way through Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years: A Memoir for what feels like seven years, but in reality is only two weeks. I am not going to finish The Seven Good Years, and that’s a disappointment. I like to finish what I start, and I thought this would be a quick read. It’s short, it’s insightful, and it’s been favorably reviewed. I was excited to find it available at my library so soon after its publication. It’s just not working for me.
Keret’s memoir focuses on the seven years between the birth of his son and the death of his father. Underlying the seven years’ worth of moments is conflict in the Middle East (Keret is Israeli). I have no interest in politics or war, and I lack the emotional wherewithal to invest in this dad’s attempt to raise his son against such a violent and uncertain background. I’ve got other things on my mind: I recently re-read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (the plague, Anne Boleyn). I have Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things sitting on my nightstand (who knows what it contains, but I read Wild a year ago and I’m still not over that scene with the horse).
Etgar, I’m sorry but I need to move on.
It’s not you. It’s me.
Okay, maybe it’s both of us.