The only way to deal with all my feelings re: this book, while maintaining a somewhat reasonable tone is to fall back on the good ol' open letter. If you haven't read this book, you should probably stay that way but still know that this is going to be spoiler-y. And so:
Dear Philip Pullman,
We get it, Philip Pullman, you hate God and you think anyone who believes in God is either very stupid, very subservient, or very evil. Did you have to write this book to reiterate your point in as many ways as possible? The Golden Compass was so good and The Subtle Knife was almost as good and then...this. I had hope, despite my doubts, and despite the warning signs sprinkled throughout the two first books in the trilogy, that you would be reasonable or at least employ a modicum of fairness and open-minded-ness but no: what I got was a lengthy tome just a hop skip away from hate speech. But then you turn around and make a new god out of Dust? Either one or the both of us is confused here, Philip Pullman.
While we're talking, Philip Pullman, I really have to ask: have you ever met a twelve year old? Or a grown woman? Because it seems like you've maybe seen children and women but you don't know any. In the first two books Mrs Coulter was pretty much Lady Macbeth but then she saw her child and BAM: woman helpless under influence of maternal feeling. Mary Mallone is the warm-hearted fairy godmother hiding 'neath the guise of an ex-nun psychicist who rejected her faith because of powerful man-kisses.
Speaking of kissing, please, please tell me I was reading it wrong when you were implying that 12 year olds had sex and thereby saved the multiple universes with their magical love. They are TWELVE, Philip Pullman. Twelve. Call me a prude but I really think people should develop adult cognitive faculties before having sex. And if you weren't weirdly saying they had sex but just meant that they smooched for awhile, why did you write it so weird? SO WEIRD. I felt icky reading it, Philip Pullman. ICKY I SAY.
The device of using prepubescent sex as a deus ex machina aside, the plot in this book was so all over the place that all I can think to do is send you my deepest condolences for the death of your editor, since there can be no other excuse for the truly heroic lengths you went to to build such a bizarrely labyrinthine plot that promises so much and delivers so little. You added characters to the story whose only purpose was to add far too many pages of pointless narrative to an already too-long story. (Like Father Gomez. Why was he there? And then he was killed by the angel who we all assumed was dead a few hundred pages earlier. Why do you hate me, Philip Pullman?)
Philip Pullman, you are the person who gets drunk at parties and then rants about vaccines being the tool of the communists, speaking in increasingly confused metaphors and using increasing muddy logic until everyone is embarrassed on your behalf. You end your rant by yelling "better dead than red" at anyone who tries to say anything and still you think you are the wisest of all.
At least I can finally check off His Dark Materials on those book-lists I use to make myself feel well-read. If I've got you totally wrong here, Philip Pullman, feel free to reply.
|this is how you make me feel, Philip Pullman|