Monday, September 27, 2010

Maybe people use the word "antediluvian" all the time, and I just never noticed

Okay, my hackles were clearly already up, but as I was finishing The Boxer and the Spy last night I was so distracted by some of the ridiculousness (it's like he was taunting me!) that I couldn't help but grab a stack of Post-Its and start flagging.
Suzi looked like she was planning for her wedding. Her eyes were bright. She was excited. Suzi was adventurous, Terry knew. For Suzi this was fun.
And for an adventurous girl, what could be more exciting than planning her own wedding?!

Later on that page, Suzi is described as a "sexpot." Suzi is fifteen and has, allegedly, been kissing boys.

While in the middle of an intense conversation about an intricate conspiracy that they believe lead to the murder of a classmate:
Nice legs, though, Terry thought, for her age.
This was the umpteenth time this character's nice legs (despite her being all old and gross) were mentioned; I think we could have skipped it during the whole "we suspect you of being involved in a murder" conversation.

There are also many obnoxious references to Terry not knowing the meanings of "hard" words (because, you know, boys have muscles but are kind of dumb), but this one seemed over the top:
"He laughed at me," Mrs. Trent said. "He is a troglodyte. Some sort of antediluvian beast, I think."
A couple other words he'd have to ask Abby about.
Now, I love big words, and I use them a lot. I have used "presumptuous" in a text message before I even had a phone with a QWERTY keypad. I've used "troglodyte" in casual conversation. But "antediluvian"? Seriously? And just four words later? It doesn't seem to fit the character at all, making its only purpose to point out that Terry doesn't know the meaning. And go ahead and accuse me of setting low standards, but I think it's perfectly okay for a 15-year-old to not be familiar with the word "antediluvian", particularly when used in such a stilted fashion.

I did finish the book last night, and while I did enjoy the story, it was really frustrating to be so regularly pulled out of the story by such bizarre and obnoxious gender stereotyping.

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