The Taser's Edge

Life Doesn’t Get Easier Just ‘Cause Piggy’s All Grown Up

For those of you who fear that I will again direct you to a nude picture of Burt Reynolds, fear no more.  This is a book review, and thus we have to take ourselves seriously.  I thought I should dash something off after finishing Deliverance about an hour ago.  I had to search high and low for a non-movie-related picture.

Setting the scene: Deliverance is #42 on the Modern Library 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century and it made Time’s “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to the Present” (2005).

To the synopsis: Four city boys head out for a weekend hunting and canoeing trip in the north Georgia woods.  They don’t know what they’re doing in the first place, but it is when they meet some locals that things begin to go wrong.  Sodomy-at-shotgunpoint wrong.  And then it becomes, basically, Lord of the Flies with adults.    What do murder and exposure to the elements unlock inside the human brain?  How do you hide bodies in the woods so no one can find them?  What’s the best way to kill a man with your bow when he has a rifle?  What would it take for you to be willing to weight and sink the body of your friend to the bottom of the river in order to keep yourself from having to tell anyone what really happened on that long weekend with your buddies?

And then there’s the question that to me is more interesting, but which Dickey does not speak to: How exactly do your secrets affect your attempt to live out those 40 remaining years of the rest of your life?

It’s a great book, and I might reread it some day.  I can’t decide if reading it makes me want to see what they did with the movie.  Or actually, the fact that I am an obsessive completist makes me think that I probably will seek out the movie, even though I have very low hopes for it being any good.  To be clear, the book is good and worth reading, but 1970s thrillers just don’t age well.  Kind of like Jon Voight.  (And if that seems too random for you, know that he was in the movie.)

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