Da Vinci Code

I'm thinking of rereading The Da Vinci Code (by Dan Brown in case you've been living in a cave in Tibet these past 3 years). All the hype surrounding the movie release has been getting to me and I'd like to refresh my memory.

I don't take this decision lightly since this is one of the worst written books I've ever finished. Usually when writing is this crappy I just toss the book aside, but the plot--can I call it that?--was sufficiently interesting in the first half of the book that I was hooked. I say "first half" because by the second half my reason for finishing the book was more a fascination to see just how bad things would get. The same reason people slow down to look at car wrecks, I guess.

I read the book in May of 2003, a month after it was released and well before the landslide of publicity. There's a lot in the book I like, I just wish someone who could construct complete sentences had written it. Or knew what the word "plot" means.

I know, I know. Lots of people view this book as very plot heavy but it's not. Instead of a plot it has what could best be described as a treasure hunt approach to writing a novel. It's an easy way to plot a book for a writer that isn't very good. Witness Redfield with his novel Celestine Prophesy. A more recent example would be Michael Crichton's State of Fear. What all 3 books have in common is a "plot" in which the characters get mysterious clues which they proceed to run down. Of the 3 books, only Crichton's did the job very well though I did like Celestine Prophesy despite its clunkiness. Another thing the 3 books had in common was a desire to tout a certain point of view. Crichton argues against Global Warming and Redfield was promoting his new age views on psychology and counseling--which just happened to be what he did for a living.

If you think about it, most of the traveling in DaVinci Code wasn't necessary and only seemed to pad the page count and allow Brown more time to preach his message at us. Personally, I got tired of the speechifying by the time I hit the middle of the novel. I do think this type of book can make a very good movie so I have high expectations--and having Tom Hanks in the lead is a good sign.

By the way, did anyone see 60 Minutes last night? The segment on the Priory of Sion (an integral part of the plot of The Da Vinci Code was based on this secret society) was quite good. Apparently the Priory of Sion was invented in the 1950s by a French man who had a history of being a little unstable mentally and was in and out of trouble with the law regarding fraud charges and a history of swindling people. Interesting segment.

Anyway, I'm reading a book by John Lescroart (The Second Chair) right now but Da Vinci Code is next up if I can hack my way through the 400-plus pages. Again.

By the way, my vote for worst book I've ever read is Southern Gold by James Alan Vitti. Now there's a true train wreck of a novel. I actually stopped reading it after 2 chapters--but was so fascinated by its awfulness that I went back to the library so I could finish it--just to see how bad it could be. It was bad--almost, but not quite, campy in it's awfulness. Not even Dan Brown is that bad.

Comments

Seven Star Hand said…
Are you ready for the truth yet?

Both sides of this argument are based on interpretations of a Roman fantasy purposely designed to hide the truth about the future Messiah and the true nature of the Creator.

How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast a common political adage, "It's the symbology stupid!"

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utenzi said…
I let the comment above through the filter because he sounds sincere and someone might be interested. Apparently symbology is a serious subject...
Teresa said…
I haven't finished any of the three books you mentioned. I attempted The Celestine Prophesy at some point and can't recall why I didn't get past about 20 pages, but it's still on my "to read" pile (for years!), so maybe I'd intended to? I didn't read the other two (though I have a copy of Dan Brown's book also, so I won't comment on that.

I did see the 60 Minutes segment and agree that it was well done. I was impressed that they gave the impression that it was an "idea" that could be built on, while not actually proving that it's totally wrong. There was a good balance in the story. However, I'm always suspect when a "news" program does a story to coincide with the opening of a movie.

I can't understand why people reread books. Other than a few classics and iconic novels that I read when I was really too young to understand, I can't think of anything that I've reread by choice....
Ahhh Dave....For some strange reason I have not read The DaVinci Code yet. I'm not sure why, but I think it is because it just doesn't interest me...I find it hard to read to begin with, so...I need to read a book that I have a HIGH motivation for right from the get-go. And for whatever reason, this book didn't hold that for me...SO, consequently I haven't a clue to what anybody is talking about when they discuss this book. You are the first person that has said you didn'think it was very well written...Now, that made the book more interestig to me.(LOL) Perverse, I know. But I probably still will not read it, cause the fact that it is not very well written is certainly not enough motivation for me. Oh well...the comment above me? I couldn't read that, either.
No_Newz said…
You hit the nail on the head. The book was poorly written. I doubt I'll take the time to see a movie based on that crap. :P
Lois Lane
kenju said…
I have to say I don't understand all the bad press about the book being poorly written. Despite that, I found it interesting. I am also considering re-reading it before I see the movie.
panthergirl said…
I thought the book was horribly written and I could not get through the first two chapters. I tried listening to it and that was even WORSE! The narrator sounded like Inspector Clouseau and he tried to imitate a woman's voice for the female part...laughable.

I might see the movie only because I'm sure the screenplay HAS to be better than that book.
elizreil said…
I also read the book before it was very popular, and because I don't read novels which resemble anything like The Code, with its dangling chapters. It is very, very badly written. Read Umberto Ecco...
rockyjay said…
I was boycotting that book, but now that you are telling me that it is poorly written; I might take a look at it.

Why?

Well, my blog can be (and has been) also described:

"I just wish someone who could construct complete sentences had written it."

If he can make that much money, why not me? Da RockyJay Code...
Tandi said…
I totally agree on Celestine Prophecy, it was possibly one of the most poorly written book but I was somehow ingruiged enough by it to finish. I think they've made a movie about it that's out now, that might be interesting...
Peri said…
Hey, very interesting,
because the first paragraph of the book had a sentence that I thought was poor writing......

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