One of my favorite television shows ever is Lost. I quickly became addicted to trying to solve the puzzles surrounding Jack, Kate, Locke, and the rest. I was a staunch defender when people tried to say that it “jumped the shark” and was one of the few who loved the ending (I could analyze it forever.).
When S. came out, conceived by Lost producer J.J. Abrams and written by author Doug Dorst, I was excited to dive right in and even more excited when I saw the actual book. If I could give a 5 just for presentation, I would, for no small detail is spared with S. From the slip jacket cover to the musty book smell, every incidental is well thought out. A reader could get overwhelmed with all the multicolored margin notes, footnotes, and slips of paper inside, but I was too excited to begin to think about that.
S. is the very definition of a multifaceted reading experience. There is the story itself, The Ship of Theseus, but there is also a story in the margins about a budding literary relationship. Combine that with the editor’s manuscript footnotes and all the extras inside, and there is a whole lot to read. There is also quite a bit of disagreement on how to read it; some say read the story, then the first colored notes, then the second colored notes, etc., but I read it all at once. And I wonder if that was my problem. I quickly realized that, much like some aspects of Lost, there were parts to S. that made no sense or puzzles that were left unanswered. However, unlike Lost, I found myself not really caring about either the main story or the side story and just wanted to be finished with it already. A book shouldn’t be a chore to pick up; Abrams and Dorst should have concentrated less on the gimmicks and more on the meat.