Only Read This Under Proper Protective Devices

I am now enclosing myself in a small space, surrounded by four dictaphones (one in each corner of my dorm room), with nothing but my computer and Raw Shark Texts with me. Well, and a diet coke. Now that I’m safely inside this protection, I can freely speak my mind – Kristin Vermilya’s mind.

Raw Shark Texts is an interesting thought experiment, but it hinges both on the reader’s willingness to participate and on the reader’s investment in the relationship between Eric Sanderson and Clio/Scout. If you aren’t willing to participate, then there is nothing more to be done. But if you’re willing to participate yet can’t stand the relationship between Eric and Clio, you’re stuck being chased by a conceptual shark that is threatening to destroy any previous memories you had of real, believable and endearing book relationships. The latter is my predicament. As alluring the idea of the Ludovician was, and as intrigued as I was to see the second Eric Sanderson through to the end, my journey was a constant struggle. I wanted to know what would happen next, but I didn’t care at all for Clio/Scout and couldn’t understand why Eric found her interesting in the first place. She seemed to be a character that was trying so hard to be different and unlike conventional girlfriends. I thought that she wasn’t that nice to or supportive of Eric in the flashbacks, and I didn’t find it that heart warming when Eric and Scout seem to be happy together at the end. The relationship between them was distracting, not enhancing. As a fiction writing major, I was too annoyed with the dynamic between them and with Clio’s character in general to be really invested in this book. However, the mind games it played on me by the end were certainly captivating. I am still working with whether or not I think Eric is dead in our world or if “our world” only broadcasts that he is dead so it can’t be blamed for Eric successfully escaping into another world and beating the Ludovician. I’m not sure which world is real and which is conceptual (or if Eric’s crazy just infected us all for 400 pages and then he died…should’ve listened to Randle), so I think in that respect Steven Hall did a good job. I just wish that I could have left the book feeling satisfied.


I am about to leave the protection of the dictaphones now. My next step in protection is to completely study the mannerisms of another person and leave my identity of Kristin Vermilya behind. I will now become Professor Bianco. Monday’s class is canceled.


~ by kristinvermilya on January 27, 2013.

4 Responses to “Only Read This Under Proper Protective Devices”

  1. I like this post, because it questions the novel’s power to convey a message

  2. I enjoy the intro and conclusion of this post, particularly.

  3. Paranoia is essential to the understanding of the book, even if it does make you do weird things before bedtime.

  4. I like the set up of this post and agree with the idea that the relationship between scout/clio and the narrator did not feel true at all. I was just dont really understand the point of it what was ai supposed to get form their relationship. the novel seemed to try really hard to get something across but it never really seemed to deliver. I found myself skimming certain sections hoping to latch on to that message. more often i found random sentence that was really well put but just a whisper of an idea

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