Saturday, March 29, 2008

Finishing 21

--by Abby

As predicted it took me less than another day to finish 21. It did take me a bit longer to get to blogging. 'Tev.

***Spoil Zone***
The finish wasn't really as strong as I was hoping. Everything fell apart really quickly at the end, which was sort of to be expected, but it just lacked emotion. It was sort of "Well, we had some laughs. Oh, well."

I did like that as the reader, I could really tell that the jig was up, but not all the characters were ready to let it go. On the other hand, it could have been written better, to really suck you into the drama and fear and suspense, and I think the writer failed there.

I know it was based on a real story, but I was hoping for a little more violence. There was really just that one scene where Martinez gets roughed up in Vegas, but Kevin never sees any of that. I'm hoping for more in the movie version.

I also wanted a little more about their shadowy ring-leader--his past, his involvement in their crash-and-burn. I guess a lot of people were reluctant to contribute to the book.
***End Spoiler***

At the end of the book, there is an essay by "Kevin Lewis" on how to win at blackjack in Vegas, which is sort of cool, but was boring for me, a non-gambler. Plus just reading the book basically tells you pretty much everything included. Finally (in my printing), the epilogue is an interview with Lewis, years after the book was originally released. He talks about people's response to the book and his family. It was okay. It didn't add a lot, but it wasn't totally worthless.

This was the author, Ben Mezrich's, first attempt at nonfiction. I'd be curious to read some of his fiction books and see if they are all as self-involved as this one. It's interesting because he seems to be really trying to give Kevin Lewis all the glory, he's just completely incapable of removing himself from the story. In that I'm sure his fiction would be much better, because he'd just personify himself in his characters. I sort of wonder if Lewis liked the way the novel turned out. In his interview he seems pleased with the fame, the notoriety, but he's pretty much a badass, so why wouldn't he? Still, if it was me, I'd probably be a little disappointed in the overall quality of the writing.

Final verdict: Awesome story, so-so writing, definitely worth the read.

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