Monday, November 05, 2012
One Cuss-word Limit
There's been a few books I've read out there who establish a bitter character with one cuss word. I'm finding as a reader that I want to encourage authors to stick to the "one cuss word limit." Here's why - I get by a character's harshness and selfishness that they have some issues in their past. One cuss word cements that message, however, if it continues to string along through the book, I find myself very annoyed in a hurry. I think, "There's some positive things in this story, the swearing is distracting." I also want the protagonist to gain some quick wisdom and keep their mouths from uttering filth. I struggle with likability in a character if they have bad habits. Beings that I'm an adult, I continued reading "Alabama Moon" by Watt Key for the sake of discovering its good merits, but I must say I wouldn't read this book to its intended audience because I couldn't get through some of the conversations censoring all the swear words without severely slashing the text.
Here's the synopsis from the publisher: For as long as ten-year-old Moon can remember, he has lived out in the forest in a shelter with his father. They keep to themselves, their only contact with other human beings an occasional trip to the nearest general store. When Moon’s father dies, Moon follows his father’s last instructions: to travel to Alaska to find others like themselves. But Moon is soon caught and entangled in a world he doesn’t know or understand; he’s become property of the government he has been avoiding all his life. As the spirited and resourceful Moon encounters constables, jails, institutions, lawyers, true friends, and true enemies, he adapts his wilderness survival skills and learns to survive in the outside world, and even, perhaps, make his home there.
I was curious after reading the story's plot and having "Alabama Moon" recommended to me, and I did find many of the scenes in the forest interesting, the crooked police officer maddening and the background on the character's enough, but not too much. But the best part of this book were the last three pages, where Moon meets relatives who want him to be a part of their family. This family's example of acceptance and providing a welcoming atmosphere was entirely loving and heartfelt.
Here's a snapshot. "David and Alice nodded. I tossed my head from side to side and snorted like a flagged dear. 'That's enough for now,' Aunt Sara said. 'Moon, you're very talented.'
"They're gonna love you at school," David said.
I smiled and got back in my chair. "You think so?"
"Yeah. Nobody can do all those sounds."
After these three pages, I wondered if the author had connections with foster parents or had a heart himself for adoption. However, I think the story is more inspiring after someone who feels dejected or abused addresses their inner struggles and lives respectably. An example of this type of story resides in the pages and film work of "Gifted Hands," the true story of Ben Carson.