Sunday, March 12, 2023

I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness: A Novel by Claire Vaye Watkins


DNF @ 59%

I'm a sucker for books with low ratings. To me, nothing is sadder than a book that just didn't happen to find its niche and I desperately would love to be that niche for the right book, especially if it's getting slammed for being unusual or "unlikable." Claire Vaye Watkins is apparently the daughter of Paul Watkins, one of Manson's collaborators, who helped provide him with girls. So in that sense, I kind of wondered if I LOVE YOU BUT I'VE CHOSEN DARKNESS is cathartic autofiction because it's about the (fictional) daughter of Paul Watkins, who's also dealing with her Gen-Y existential dread and postpartum depression, as well as the grim legacy left behind by her dad.

I think the best parts, for me, were actually the descriptions of the Nevada desert and the way she slips into omniscient narrator perspective talking about the Manson family cult. It gets kind of weird-- like FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS weird-- where the heroine (author?) starts talking about these teeth tumors she has in her vagina that are vestiges of her baby's DNA (what), and waxing on about her dead high school boyfriend.

I'm sad to be giving this a low ratings because I appreciated what it was trying to do-- gonzo autofiction, maybe in the vein of Hunter S. Thompson?-- and one of the things I've criticized the publishing industry for is how social media marketing has led to the "same-ification" of the book market, with fewer people taking risks as they all race to do what's popular. I personally like it when an author takes risks with the narrative and story, but this just didn't work here.

2 out of 5 stars

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