Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by CJ Box

I finished this book because I always finish books, even the ones I hate. This one disappoints all the way to the end.

I've read a bit more about this novel and the story behind it. The three weeks in the title are the time that adoptive parents are given before having to turn over their adopted infant to the birth father and grandfather. The adoptive agency fucked up and didn't get a signature from the birth father before "finalizing" the adoption. This comes as a complete surprise for the adoptive parents and they face a confusing and terrifying world in which the birth grandfather is a federal judge and the birth father is a sadistic asshole.

Along the way, we get racist rants against Mexicans, "admirable" wild-west, gun-toting caricatures, and cops whose cynicism drives them to accept murder, smack downs, set-ups and tampering with evidence.

The main characters are the very definition of middle class twits. Faced with this horrible dilemma, they do nothing to protect themselves or their child. This pissed me off.

If you've never been faced with the classism and racism inherent in our justice system, you might be stupid enough to allow a federal judge and his spoiled brat into your home with no witnesses, no lawyer, no tape recorder or video tape. That's the only way these creeps could get away with the crap that they pull in this book.

If you aren't clueless, you protect yourself. You gather your neighbors, whom you have met and actual know and interact with, to help document the harassment you are facing. The asshole judge and his son would have been stopped in their tracks at the beginning of this book if the parents weren't such go-it-alone, individualistic idiots.

If I had the energy, I could make an important argument about how the thinking, exemplified in this book, is an example of the very worst that can happen when we take the idea of responsibility, property rights and individualism way too seriously. The ONLY choices these parents make are wrong and doomed to fail. The ONLY options they imagine are about personal retribution. At one point the parents ask themselves if there was anything else they could have done and they CAN"T THINK OF A THING.

I'm not that cynical. I do not believe that people are this stupid. Again and again, when things go horribly wrong, communities turn around and act admirably. You'd have to be obtuse not to see that.

Some people really are that stupid.