Donna Everhart

Falling Out Of Love

When did you change your mind?  When did you know that somehow, you no longer felt the same way about, dare we say…, your favorite all time author?

Did this knowledge creep up on you unexpectedly, or was it a revelation of sorts that smacked you in the face one day?  What did they do wrong?  Did they write something so different you didn’t recognize it as theirs?  Or, did they write too much of the same thing over and over, and the initial excitement you felt when opening the book up to begin the first chapter went from a moment of intrepid expectation, to that flaccid and heavy feeling of disappointment?  And you thought, “that’s the last one, never again.”

Then, like clockwork, they put out another book.  And you think, “oooh, maybe this one will be like it used to be…, maybe this one is different.”  Hope abounds, you buy the book, and it fails to deliver – again.  And, that anticipation you used to have, that watchdog like following of the author’s writing and next proposed story somehow drifted into a land of has been, at least for you.

I used to read a LOT of Stephen King.  If I turn in my chair right now, I can eyeball all of the books I’ve bought, from years ago.  His time with me was when I was in my mid to late twenties.  When I saw that he was due to put out something new, I was at the bookstore ON that date of release.  It didn’t matter if I didn’t really have enough money to buy it.  Somehow, I made due.  After about the twentieth book (and some of his stories are still my favorites like STAND BY ME, MISERY, CUJO, and DELORES CLAIBORNE) something changed.  They seemed to get more weird, just too weird, at least for me.

I think the turning point might have been FROM A BUICK 8.  But, I really can’t say where my love affair with his writing fizzled, and that’s really the way I think of it, more of a slow erosion, and then, an awareness, “hey, sorry, but, you just don’t do it for me anymore.”

Once my love for his writing went <poof> I’ve yet to fall in love with another author like I did him.  I used to be proud when someone asked me, “who do you like to read?”  And I would say, “I don’t like, I LOVE Stephen King.”  A lot of times  they would look at me like I must be kidding, and a few said, “How can you read that crap?”  But I did love his stories…, back then.  I remember first reading THE STAND.  A friend of mine up the street was pregnant with her first child, as was I, and we would get together and compare our morning sickness levels, and talk about reading.  She’s the one who got me into reading King.  He was a great distraction from nausea – although he really should have caused it, with some of his descriptions.

Sadly for me, there hasn’t been another author I could get so crazy about.  There are a few where I’ve bought more than one of their books…, like Ann Patchett, Alice Hoffman, Dorothy Allison, Rick Bragg, Kaye Gibbons.  And more recently, as of late, I’m “kinda” hooked on Larry Brown.  I can’t say just yet if I will love him like King, but I’m keeping my hopes up, because I want someone to love again, someone I can have a long term relationship with – only…, and sadly, it appears my potential new love will have to be finite… as Brown passed away in 2004.

How about you?   Is your favorite author still up on the love pedestal, or have you kicked them off?

11 thoughts on “Falling Out Of Love”

  1. I felt this way when John Grisham started writing non-legal novels. They weren’t as good. And usually it’s not that the author fails to deliver, it’s that I just read enough and move on to another topic or voice. Danielle Steel captured me as a Freshman in high school, but once that romance stage was over, I was done, no matter how many more she put out.

    When I find an author I like, I do tend to collect and read as many of their books as I can. But if I get two in a row that just aren’t the same, I do tend to stop reading that author.

    1. Come to think of it, I usually do this with formula authors…another one being Nicholas Sparks. So far the only one who hasn’t eventually turned me is Jodi Piccoult…and I’ve been reading her since before she was well known.

      1. Wow, I started to use Jodi Piccoult when I was thinking about the sheer volume of work Stephen King did…and in that moment, I wasn’t sure anyone else had produced the amount of books he had.., except Jodi Piccoult…and i’ve read a couple of her books only, not been a HUGE fan, but I know she’s good, and…King like as far as being prolific.

      2. The reason I haven’t tired of Piccoult’s books yet is because I love plot twists. So I always can’t wait to see what the plot twist will be. And like someone mentioned below, my favorite is the first I ever read – Plain Truth.

        1. She does have a way with that…even if her overall story arc’s seem along the same lines…but now, Teri has me curious about THE PACT.

  2. My favorite writer is Philip Roth. When I read his stuff, I get the sense that every word and every piece of punctuation is exactly right. Now he claims he’s retired from writing (I’m not wholly convinced), so he may have ended our relationship unilaterally.

    My favorite novelist (as distinguished from writer) is Iris Murdoch, and she’s been dead for years and years, so I have a finite relationship with her too.

    I don’t know that I’ve lost interest in any writer so much as just outgrew them. A lot of the adventure-type stuff I read as a boy doesn’t appeal to me, but I was reading Joseph Conrad in high school for fun.

    1. Yes, I thought maybe I’d “outgrown” Stephen King, but he has done some rather sane/sophisticated works more recently (Duma Key for example – which I read but did my heart race or go aflutter once again…sadly, no.) Tastes do change, but I think if the writer is consistently good – we’d love them no matter what. I didn’t know what happened to the Stephen King that could write a book like CUJO, or STAND BY ME, etc and then write something like BUICK 8 – then of course…I read STEPHEN KING, ON WRITING, and I guess when you’re doing what he was doing, you’d write like something like that…

  3. King, yup right back at-cha and like Jennine, a Grisham book would come out and I’d salivate. My first read of Dean Koontz was Watchers and after that I think I bought everything, old and new until my passion for a good chase and weirdness sort of petered out. I’ve just discovered Piccoult, I’m a little behind, and though her writing is right up there I feel as if it is a bit predictable.
    I need a author to rekindle my reading passion. Huh…re-KINDLE, good choice of words.

    1. Ha! Love the unplanned puns…:)

      Agree a bit on the predictability with Piccoult…you know she’s going to pick an unusual medical issue or current event and it’s pretty much going to be a story of how the family is trying to cope through it, etc (although I think a couple of her latest aren’t in that vain…not sure)

  4. This is such a tough question —- so many options! But I can say I’ll read anything by Dorothy Allison, Mary Karr, William Styron, and Margaret Atwood. My newest crush is Cheryl Strayed but I think I’ll be waiting awhile for her next book; even her short pieces (which I found online) are to die for; the day WILD came out I drove the bookstore and waited for the doors to open and read it that day.

    Right now I’m on a strange Patricia Cornwell (Scarpetta series) kick, reading one right after the other.

    P.S. Agree with Carolynn, that the Jodi Piccoult books are too “same-ish” ….. except for THE PACT, which was the first of hers I read and I still love it.

    1. My hand was hovering over THE PACT last year…and then I didn’t buy it. That’s one I might have to reconsider…your tastes and mine are parallel – in that I’ll read anything by Dorothy Allison, Mary Karr, (not familiar with William S.) and Margaret Atwood. Also, Joan Didion always grabs me with her ability to make the most of her words.

      I mentioned my latest kick being Larry Brown, and I’m going to say…I’m not sure I will be as smitten by the time it’s all said and done…I still have FAY, THE MIRACLE OF CATFISH, and BIG, BAD, LOVE to get through – which isn’t all of his work…just sort of checking him out. His writing is brutal – or maybe brutally honest.

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