Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Bobby Gold Stories

I am addicted to Anthony Bourdain No Reservations on the Travel Channel. I am particularly attracted to Bourdain’s narration of the program. He is insightful, humorous, and eloquent.

Last night, I caught a rerun of Bourdain’s visit to London. During the program, he refers to one of his novels. Hmm, a novel? I headed to the library today and picked up Bourdain’s The Bobby Gold Stories: A Novel.

Bobby Gold is a good-hearted thug who falls for a cook, Nikki, who dreams of life on the lam. Nikki has no attractive qualities—apart from a nice body—and I had difficulty imagining why Bobby would willingly give up everything for her.

I had hoped for an intelligent novel similar to No Reservations. I wanted to experience more of Bourdain’s witticisms and cultural insights. Instead, I found a by-the-book gangster novel oozing with crude scenes and foul language. The profanity wouldn’t have been an issue if it were used to enhance a smart novel. Instead, the book feels gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous. In fact, I am almost embarrassed to admit I even read it.

The only time I enjoyed the novel was when I imagined the narrative in Bourdain’s voice. Suddenly, the words sounded more intelligent, almost elegant. Perhaps I am simply mesmerized by the sound of his voice. However, I did not have the mental fortitude to read the entire book in this manner, so ultimately I was thoroughly disappointed by the novel.

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