Sometimes it's the books I love the most that I have the hardest time writing reviews for. There are certain titles that I just feel rather defensive or possessive about - the books which when others admit to not liking them, I almost feel a bit offended. Does anyone else have works that they get this emotional about? For me, one such book is The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.
Now the story alone is enough reason for me to enjoy this one, but Fforde's writing is also peppered with wordplay, literary gags, and all sorts of humor for bibliophiles. Yet, even saying that I know there are still plenty of readers that just never warmed to this book. And I think I understand why. The Eyre Affair is the ultimate example of a cross-genre book. It's satire, mystery, science fiction, and humor. Numerous classics are referenced, at least one chapter reads like a horror novel; there's a large plot involving time travel that might make your brain hurt if you over analyze it; not to mention a love story; and a good deal of political commentary criticizing war, corporations, and their all too intertwined relationship. Many negative reviews I've read for the novel point out this mish-mash of details as distracting or unfocused, but to me it just demonstrates Fforde's suave pen at juggling so many seemingly disconnected genres and entwining them all into a clever and cohesive book.
I first read this book after picking it up at a used bookstore in 2003 or 2004, but I recently reread it and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I look to Fforde's novels when I need a happy read, a book I can rely on to make me smile. Along with picking up more of the jokes and classic references that I had forgotten or missed the first time, I liked this book even more now that I'm closer in age to the protagonist. It was a fun book when I was ten years Thursday's junior but now that there's only a handful of years between us I can relate to her even more.
What are your thoughts on The Eyre Affair? Are you a fan or are you one of the people that failed to be impressed by it? (You can be honest, I can take it!) Do you ever have books that you're overly fond of or defensive about people liking?