Women by Charles Bukowski (finished July 17, 2016)
One of my very good friends loves Bukowski and his poetry. She constantly told me to read something by him, because she loved “how raw he is.” So I finally did. This work is a novel, not poetry, but his writing is consistent between the two genres.
This book is unlike many other books I’ve read, specifically fictional novels. Most writers strive to keep the reader going by writing with momentum; however, Bukowski tells his story much like my grandfather would—casually, without indicating many highs or lows, and without a very explicit plot line. I enjoyed that to an extent, because it made this book very easy to pick up at random or in a waiting room and not have to remember every detail of what happened prior to that page. I could also put it away when called into a doctor’s office or when I had to leave to go somewhere.
However, this quality also made me somewhat unmotivated to keep reading it. The shape of the story is very platonic for a good majority of the book. Because there wasn’t a driving plot line or any cliffhangers, there was no sense that I needed to continue reading it, other than my own need to finish the book.
I did enjoy the writing style because it was very real and easy, just as my friend described. There wasn’t a lot of sugar coating, and to give you an idea of what this book is about, it is the narrator telling the reader about his love life. We’ve all had people tell us about their relationships, and they are usually very dramatic. Bukowski’s main character and narrator, Chinaski, tells us what is going on very plainly, and lets the hysterics speak for themselves. The juxtaposition of this is weirdly nice.
If you’re someone who appreciates direct writing, with a lack of figurative language, you would love this book. Otherwise, this book is a bit of a hit or miss. It wasn’t enough to make me bail on it or anything, but I wouldn’t consider this a must-read.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5