Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sticking up for the sentimental

Here's today's $64,000 question: Who decided sentimentality is bad?

Surfing the Web before bed last night, I came across a Washington Post review of author Charles Frazier's latest novel, "Thirteen Moons." The critic called the Asheville, N.C. native's books (which includes his debut novel "Cold Mountain") "long-winded, sentimental, soporific."

Huh? The only thing that put me to sleep was the review. But back to the point.

I've yet to meet a human who isn't sentimental about something. Songs, lost loves, football, Twinkies --- you know, all the usual suspects.

Critics say sentimentality is cheap, the easy way out. Grab the audience by hooking them in the heartstrings. Reel them in and watch the tears (and profits) flow.

I beg to differ.

Frazier's first novel was the best American novel published in the 1990s. Period. Dot. Paragraph.

And why wouldn't it be sentimental? "Cold Mountain" was in many ways an ode to Frazier's home --- the beautiful southern Appalachian region of western North Carolina.

I haven't read "Thirteen Moons." My good friend Bridget Trogden, former Halls guy Dewayne Lawson's much better half, borrowed it last time I was in Macon. But I'd bet the house that novel is anything but dull.

And what's so wrong with sentimentality anyway? My writing is awash in it, especially my meager attempts at fiction. You can call it cheap, and it may be. But, whatever it is or isn't, it comes from the heart.

Call me crazy, but sometimes I think certain things should be affected by tender feelings.


Blogger thinkingasiwrite said...

here here! totally just said it much better than I ever could. =)

11:16 PM  

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