Punch my buttons!

Wow.  I think I need therapy.

Over the last couple of years I have found a few books that really wind me up.  Granted, the storyteller needs to be quite exceptional in order to make me angry enough (from a work of fiction) to spit tacks.  But I don’t know how the writer is manipulating the work in order to trigger such a strong reaction.

What I have observed:

  • None of the story elements are unique–personal/interpersonal issues, social/political issues, problems, actions
  • Each character behaves in alignment with their disposition and motives.

So what is it that is really punching my buttons?

I tell my students that academic writing is not an emotional desert, but that the language is geared toward reserve.  It makes the opinons behind the writing no less passionate for all the missing first and second person pronouns.  We also discuss how to handle something that really knocks us for a loop or finds that little red button in our brain that makes us crazy.  While I can teach students how to handle those kinds of real life situations–first by being aware of the issues that make one go off the deep end–I am not quite sure it can be applicable to fiction.

Who am I kidding?

I am very well aware of issues that irk me, issues that make me want to crack skulls, and issues that scare me enough to want to live in a hole.

Do these novels touch on some of these issues?  I would be lying if I said no.  However, I have read other novels about these same issues and while I might be slightly vexed as I read the feeling won’t carry on when I put the book down.  So, again, what are these particular authors doing as they tell the story to cause such a visceral reaction in me?

I mean to find out!

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