Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterbacking XIII

Well, I finally got to Modern Love column that I’m not wild about. And it may be because I’m a cat person. But I don’t think so. I think it’s because I didn’t find anything new or dramatic to bond to in this essay.

This is an essay about how someone who wasn’t sure he could love a dog, finds out he can and what’s more, the dog makes his whole life better than it was before.

Nice story, but not new. And it’s not made new by the fact that the couple in this story is gay. Although that does allow the author to get off a great line expressing his concern about owning a long-haired miniature dachschund. “She’s too small! She’s just too gay!”

I thought the essay was well written. But it didn’t turn me in any new directions. In the end, it was just another happiness is a warm puppy tale. Ever since John Grogan managed to make a mint off his Marley, the world has been quite well-populated by How Great Is My Dog stories.

I guess this essay does give me one bit of good news: you don’t necessarily have to tell your deepest, darkest secret to make Modern Love. I’ve read Bob Morris before, in the NYT and elsewhere. This is not his most revelatory piece.

Maybe the editors decided the column needed a break from the My Most Humiliating Moment trend?

1 comment:

  1. Ellen, I'm not sure that I agree with you about this column. I liked it, because it works against the common notion that memoir is all about pouring out our deep, dark secrets. It exposes the vulnerabilities of a most ordinary relationship, one person fearful of sharing too much of himself, the other fearing he will not get the attention that he wants. These are, in fact, quite intimate and risky revelations. The essay has a nice balance of summary, scene, and reflection. The reader is permitted to travel along with the writer and his partner as they discover new truths about themselves. The fact that I can remember so much of the essay, not having looked at it for a week, is testament to its value.