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Val's BookBlog

My Beach Read (and I regretted it)

— feeling surrender
Disclosure - Michael Crichton

I decided to take a sabbatical this summer and read something breezy . I thought a Michael Crichton book would be a good pick. I loved Jurassic Park but wanted to wrap myself in a story with less animal mayhem. I settled for a suspense story about a man falsely accused of sexual harassment by his female boss.


I was disappointed.  


Normally I wouldn't put Crichton in the "breezy" category. His scientific background is evident and something I like about him. His plots can be contrived but I like the way he can weave science and suspense.


In this book Tom Sanders works for DigiCom in Seattle, where he is the head of the Advanced Products Manufacturing. He has hopes for a promotion, but is sorely disappointed when he is overlooked. His new supervisor, Meredith Johnson, also happens to be Sanders ex-girlfriend. Sanders shuns her advances one night, and she accuses him of sexual harassment the next day.


The trouble starts when Sanders tries to retaliate. He realizes he is just a cog in a company that has been spinning the wheels right underneath him. Politics trumps hard work. Meredith Johnson is a true phony; an inexperienced bitch with a history of harassment.


This book was published in the early 90's, so it is interesting to get a glimpse of emerging gender politics and the obliteration of the glass ceiling in the workforce. The heavy techno babble can sometimes read like Latin, but is obviously necessary here.


This book isn't classified horror, but there is something about the low moral standards of high executives here that is despairing. No dinosaurs, but the dog-eat-dog corporate world should be classified as an animal kingdom of its own.


Towards the end It felt less like a story then series of vignettes rushing to a conclusion. Vignettes are for soaps, not art. I wanted to see more of Sanders developing into an assertive guy. Filing a lawsuit against your own company takes spine. I wanted to feel his struggle and how he has to change. Not only with his company but with himself.


Crichton is very talented and was already a best selling author before this book. I am sure his publishing house asked him to tighten the ending and come to a quick conclusion. It was time to churn out something new.


Reading this felt that way. Any character development is swept out by the middle of the book and the rest is exposition to a fast finale. It made for a cheap reading experience.