Thursday, February 09, 2006

Full Service

Paul's mom makes him get a summer job in town, pumping gas at the tourist Shell station, where he can "meet people", which is basically her way of showing him his options. See, he's grown up in this orthodox Christianity thing, where they're all farmers and the women don't cut their hair. Through this job, he meets people outside his faith and he starts to rebel, smoking pot and kissing girls. Ultimately, he finds his way back, and seems to have a better understanding of the value of his faith.

The first thing I like about this book is the structure. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and I could feel each event happening before it really did. There were instances of symbolic foreshadowing (Paul goes swimming out to the drop off, suddenly gets a cramp, and realizes how close he was to really being in trouble) that were subtle, but still somehow obvious. I think they fit so well with the story that I almost didn't realize they had a literary purpose, until I thought for 30 seconds about it and DUH.

I also liked the tone. As a narrator, Paul was so calm and non-judgemental. Especially in the beginning, he met these people who were totally different from him, and did things his father would probably smack him for, and yet Paul abstained from comment. Kirk cheated on his wife. Dave was an alcoholic. (I can just imagine Mrs. Peacock's disdain.)

Now, about the story. I found the whole Faith very accessible. It didn't sound weird or prostelytizing. It just sounded like, "this is the way it works." This may be just an athiest's view, but to me it sounded like the Faith stood in for "the way things are," and the plot was Paul's embracing that instead of just accepting it. It worked.

1 comment:

  1. I like your interpretation. I think my problem was that I didn't exactly understand why Paul ended up embracing "the way things were." I didn't quite understand that transition, especially since his experience at the Convention was so mixed.

    Anyway, I should pack. Mwah!