10 January 2012

The Face of a Naked Lady by Michael Rips

I read this book, borrowed from the library, in April 2006. This year I received a copy through my Paperbackswap account. I decided to reread it slowly. I placed it in our bathroom and read it only a few minutes a day.

I was curious to know if I would enjoy it as much as I previously had. Michael Rips was not particularly close to his father. After his father died Michael happened upon a photo of a naked black woman in his father's things. He decided he hadn't known his father well enough.He decided he had to try to find out who the woman was and how his father had been involved in her life.

That part of the story is a somewhat touching one, really. The thing is that Michael is a story-teller, and a pretty good rambler.  The first time I read the book I kind of enjoyed that I guess. This time through I just wasn't nearly as enamored. I think I've matured a lot in my reading style over the years. We all surely hope to do that.

I love memoirs and this title certainly falls into that genre, at least in part. I generally enjoy a bit of self-discovery too but Rips is a bit holier-than-thou in the way he draws analogies. I enjoy a bit of fun in a story too. I think Rips goes too far in both directions though. He can't find a happy medium. In the earliest parts of the book he includes one story that is simply there just for its shock value, nothing more. I didn't like  that. Most readers, I think, wouldn't.

I was glad to be reminded the identity of the naked lady but I'm not so thrilled that I reread this book. Today, I wouldn't recommend it to most people and can only give it about 2 - 2.5 stars.

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