Don’t Worry, Be Happy

20 Nov

‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ is one of those songs that sound like it’s going out of its way to annoy you. It’s quite good really, charming with deceptive simplicity. It is probably the only popular song ever with the word ‘litigate’ in it. Despite the song being a hit, it killed Bobby McFerrin’s career. He has real talent and to the mainstream audience he’s a one-hit-wonder, he is fairly respected in the music world. I was ‘Youtubing’ accappela songs and came across him singing ‘Blackbird’. Wow. It’s nothing like ‘The Beatles’ original version but I suggest that you jump onto ‘Youtube’ and check it out. Great vocal style and the man looks good in a blue jumper.

This blog is ‘Part 2’ on the shite book list. When I first read ‘Bridgs of Madison County’, I hated it. I was about 9 and my neighbour was getting rid of a some old cat calendars and the book just happened to be in there. This was the first book I’ve ever thrown against the wall. I was a very precocious reader who had read quite a few classics as well as the standard children’s books. It’s a good thing that my parents didn’t notice the book. They’re the kind would have disowned me had I read ‘Spills and Swoon’ (Mills and Boon), Jackie Collins type books. My mother has never forgiven me for reading Jaqueline Susann’s ‘Valley of the Doll’s (but it’s iconic trash).

I mentioned before that I read the one star reviews on Amazon for ‘Twilight’ straight after reading the book. I wanted to restore my faith in humanity and had to know that somebody out there found the book as rubbish as I did. Thank heaven there were. Then I looked up the one star reviews for ‘Bridges’.  Thank you, ‘Goodreads’. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/83674.The_Bridges_of_Madison_County

I found a copy in a second hand bookshop. I’m so glad I did. I saw the book in a new light thanks to the reviews. The passages I found so ridiculous back then have just become better with age. I howled with laughter at some of the quotes.

‘If your evolutionary branch is a dead end, as you say it is, then I want you to hit that end at full speed’. (I wanted the characters to drive into a real tree).

‘Robert, when we were making love last night, you said something that I still remember. I kept whispering to you about your power — and, my God, you have that. You said, ‘I am the highway and a peregrine and all the sails that ever went to sea.’

See? Genius. It takes a certain mind to think up sentences like that. Every single sentence could be a entry in the ‘Bulwer-Lytton’ competition.

I thought back then it was just a terrible attempt at a love story. I don’t want to attribute to Robert James Waller such lofty ideals but it could be seen as a comedy, a brilliant satire of a romance novel and a bold attempt at challenging what the mass public like. A bit like the ‘Naked Came the Stranger’ of its day.

The plot is very ‘The Notebook’, maudlin tripe about two people and who fall in love/lust and the obstacle is that Francesca is married to a nice but forgettable man. A quote from ‘Goodreads’, ‘forget him, Waller does’. Bored housewife bonks travelling hippie photographer and then pines after him for the rest of her life as she ‘sacrificed’ love to be stay with boring husband and two children. Then at the end we find out that both housewife and hippie photographer die. Said housewife wrote letters to her children detailing her sexual relationship with said hippie photographer. Ick, ICK. Instead of acting as normal people would and throwing up at the thought of their mother having sex with this weirdo, her children feel guilty about being a burden between true love. Oh you’ve got to read the cringworthy sex scenes. Unbelievable. Sometimes when I’m in the mood for a laugh, I read parts of the book.

I used to talk about ‘Bridges’ with a former friend of mine.  We did a search and found that ‘The Shadow God’ by Aaron Rayburn was considered ‘the worst book ever’. The Amazon one-star reviews are just great and we found it so funny that my friend ordered the book from America. Quotes:

Spiers’s eyes popped extraneously from their socketsThe lamp’s glow was very weak compared to the blue glow emancipating from the basement.It infiltrated his lungs, filling them with a kind of innovativeness he had never felt before.

See? Forget your degree, forget the good books that you’ve read, forget your skills as a wordsmith. Making it big as a writer sometimes means writing tripe. Anything goes, anything sells. As Scott Adams said, ‘never underestimate the stupidity of the general public.

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One Response to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

  1. Ad-libb3d November 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    You’re so right. McFerrin is a genius who is remembered for what I’d wager he feels is completely the wrong thing. And you’re so right about literature. Just because it sells doesn’t mean it’s any good. (* cough* fifty shades *cough*).

    Now I have that Don’t worry be happy song in my head. Damn.

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