Introduce yourself #insixwords
Logophile #Leo with a birthday tomorrow.
During Bout of Books 22, one of the challenges was to find a book from the year you were born.
I posted a book I dug up from 1979. For Bout of Books 23, I finally read it!
Day of the challenge: Day 1
What I read today: A More Innocent Time by Eugenie Hill
Total number of finished books: 1
Titles of finished books:
A More Innocent Time by Eugenie Hill
My GOALS during Bout of Books 23:
- Finish reading 5 books
- Take part in the challenges
- Write 5 book reviews
A More Innocent Time by Eugenie Hill
To be fair, I’d rather give this 3.5 stars than 3, but half stars aren’t an option.
The writing is fine for the time it came out, as is the editing, and all is well developed. I simply didn’t care for the story, the subject matter, or the characters. As such, I cannot bring myself to offer up four stars, which might be construed as liking this book, or worse, recommending it.
Agnes and Goff are the main characters the third person point of view most often centers upon. Only one makes it to the end of the book. And only one is depicted as a human rather than an object. Both are horribly guilty of crimes against morality; neither is ever charged, and only one of them even momentarily considers the legal ramifications.
“And that rendered her vulnerable. All at once she was within his power.” That’s a quote from the moment Goff considers himself in love with Agnes. He later tells her of this love, though he’s still a child at the time. She tells him she’s flattered. He angers and uses intimidation and force to make her say she loves him back and then to kiss him. Goff’s antisocial personality disorder is clear even at the beginning of puberty.
Goff’s best friend is Andrew. At age twelve, Andrew starts raping his own sister. Goff admires him for it, especially since Andrew is the first one among his classmates to have had sex. They consider the blood and tears to be natural. (Are you getting a sense of why I don’t care for this book?)
Eventually, Goff begs Agnes to have sex. “She didn’t put up a very strong resistance. What was the use of that? He might have forced her anyway.” Nothing says “love” like committing a violent crime, right? And, bonus, getting the person you “love” to commit a crime, because the sex was statutory rape.
Just when Agnes seems to be redeemable, everything goes out the window. “She wondered whether Goff would come. She had to admit that she wanted him to find her desirable still, shallow as that was.” The character is worried about being shallow when she ought to be seeking therapy for hoping a child is sexually attracted to her. I guess at least it makes Goff slightly less of a monster… except it doesn’t, because soon after that he impregnates a girl his own age, then gets the girl to have an abortion by sending Andrew over there, and then the girl tries to kill herself. (Whoops, that might be a spoiler. Or, if you find this sort of thing offensive, I’ve just saved you, so #youarewelcome.)
Perhaps Agnes is meant to be redeemed by her lack of self-confidence. She’s always telling Goff (and later, Justin) that she’s just what he wants for now, that he’ll eventually be interested in girls his own age instead. That it’s all just an infatuation and that she’s keeping him from someone more suitable. She even asks herself if the reason behind her choices is that she believes it won’t last. But there may have been something to it. The moment she’s physically unable to have sex (healing from a medical issue), he thinks that she’s no good and considers having sex with a friend, or even a prostitute.
I would not consider this book to be a romance or erotica. “The tragedy is a genre of traditional drama that is generally characterized by serious themes and the eventual downfall of the protagonist of the drama.” “Tragedy has a noble character who falls from grace. Evokes emotions of pity and fear from its audience.” By those definitions, tragedy is the genre I would use to classify this novel.
As near as I can tell, this book was by a #DebutAuthor, as it seems to be the only one she ever published. I’ve never read it before, and obviously never read anything else she wrote, and don’t think I’ve ever even read anything similar to this, so it certainly counts for the Try Something New challenge.