I usually don’t like to get too political on my blog. The current state of things is such a confusing mess that even I’m not sure what my thoughts are, and there are things like our current racial division in the U.S. that makes me feel upset, confused, and generally voiceless. I’m a white girl who grew up in rural Michigan, so it sometimes feels like I just don’t have a good perspective on things. On the other hand, I live just outside of Chicago, where the murder rate from gun violence is just absolutely staggering. I have family members who work in law enforcement, so the attacks on police grip my heart with a very personal kind of terror, while the reports of young black people being straight-up murdered just for being young and black is heartbreaking. It’s all so awful that I’m often just stunned into complete silence, unable to believe that this is the world we live in.
And then a James Patterson book, of all things, that I just randomly read out of a pile somewhere, compels me to finally say something. It won’t be much, but it’s something.
Now, I have never been a fan of James Patterson. I can’t stand his writing style, the convenient plot twists, the sparse prose, the reliance on action and drama over world building and immersion. 2nd Chance started out a lot like that for me, too. I didn’t really feel any strong connection to the story at first, though I’ll admit it grew on me a little bit. I was vaguely familiar with the character of Lindsay Boxer from my days at Fandom High, and, quite frankly, I felt the fellow playing her there gave her way more life than Patterson’s dull prose. But I’m not here to talk about my lack of appreciation for Patterson. I’m here to talk about the fact that this book, only 14 years old, is already a goddamn relic.
The plot revolves around (Spoiler Alert!) a police officer whose life is ruined when he kills a young black kid on the streets. The whole force “turns his back on him” to indict him, he gets twenty years in jail, and he’s really, really fucking bitter about it. It’s this whole big thing. Now compare that to the news of the last few years, actual real life stories that read the complete opposite of this officer’s story. Black kids getting killed by police officers all the time, the department fending for the officer, minimal punishment or repercussions, and life goes on. This book was published in 2002. I still can’t get over how much can change in fourteen years, when I tell my boyfriend about the plot and he darkly jokes that, clearly, it must be fiction.
I absolutely breaks my heart. I have trouble getting my mind around it that a James Patterson book from 2002 handles things in a more compassionate and reasonable way that how things are handled in today’s messed up socio-political climate. It’s so absurd that it almost feels unreal. But it is real. And it’s a real fucking problem.