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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Alice Hoffman at the Gifford series

I had been looking forward to this ever since I heard she was going to be included in the series, about this time last year.  I got my ticket a couple months ago, and was so excited for the actual event. 

Maybe I had built it up too much in my mind, because it was a strangely unsatisfying experience.

For one thing, the local paper had an interview with her in their Sunday issue, and she included several of the comments from that interview in her presentation.  I supppose they were points she wanted to make, but for $31 plus $6 parking, I really wanted some new material.

Even more odd was how chaotic the Q & A was - she couldn't see the audience and there were no mics or helpers, so people got frustrated and started just standing up and shouting out (I did!), but it created more frustration, you could tell.  You'd think after 7 years or whatever, the series organizers would have figured out how to manage the process.

She dodged my question completely, which of course was sort of frustrating.  Since she's written several novels for young readers, and in her interview in the paper, as well as her prepared remarks, she says that the most important reading you do in your life is when you're young, I asked who she would recommend for young readers.  She said, "ask your librarian." Ouch.  Maybe she just couldn't think of anyone, or maybe she just thought it was a stupid question. 

Finally, it ended in this really odd and abrupt way - the MC came out on stage and Alice just left, no closing remarks or anything.

And one more thing - I had hoped that I could get her autograph, so I brought my copy of The Ice Queen, my favorite book of hers.  Though I suppose with over 1500 people in the audience, they can't expect the author to sign books after the lecture - she'd be there all night.

Oh yeah, one more thing - the person sitting behind me had really bad breath, it was downright distracting.

Overall, it just didn't feel like a $40 experience.  And the timing sucked - I missed the Board of Trustee meeting AND we're leaving on vacation on Thursday, so I'm completely swamped with stuff to do and don't really have time for this.  Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been so stressed and hadn't counted on it being transporting.


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