Whew…I finally finished The Scarlet Letter. And it never picked up for me. I kept thinking of a comment I heard during a talk by Mary Higgins Clark, the suspense novelist, about 20 years ago. Clark was laughing about a comment she heard from a teenager about her books. The girl told the author that overall she enjoyed the writer’s work and she didn’t mind the boring parts all that much. Clark thought it was funny and then bemoaned the fact that children of today’s world only wanted action. Make it quick and make it exciting. Don’t write about the how and why, just write about the explosions, murder, and such. And 20 years later I think it is getting worse. Think of Twitter. You only have so many words to say it. Could Hawthorne use Twitter? Or would he throw his arms up in disgust?
This conversation kept playing over in my head while I read The Scarlet Letter. Was I that teenager who couldn’t patiently wait for the story to develop? Or was it just this story? I really hope I am not becoming that type of person. One thought kept my sanity. I loved his other work, The House of the Seven Gables. And it wasn’t a rip roaring piece of literature.