Friday, May 2, 2014

Book Club: The Inner Circle by, T.C. Boyle

I will start by saying I would not recommend this book. I picked it at book club because it's a novel about Dr. Alfred Kinsey who, as a psychology minor, I always found fascinating. I mean just read the description:

Fresh on the heels of his New York Times bestselling and National Book Award- nominated novel, Drop City, T.C. Boyle has spun an even more dazzling tale that will delight both his longtime devotees and a legion of new fans. Boyle’s tenth novel, The Inner Circle has it all: fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of documenting . . . well, almost.
A love story, The Inner Circle is narrated by John Milk, a virginal young man who in 1940 accepts a job as an assistant to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an extraordinarily charming professor of zoology at Indiana University who has just discovered his life’s true calling: sex. As a member of Kinsey’s “inner circle” of researchers, Milk (and his beautiful new wife) is called on to participate in sexual experiments that become increasingly uninhibited—and problematic for his marriage. For in his later years Kinsey (who behind closed doors is a sexual enthusiast of the first order) ever more recklessly pushed the boundaries both personally and professionally.
While Boyle doesn't resist making the most of this delicious material, The Inner Circle is at heart a very moving and very loving look at sex, marriage, and jealousy that will have readers everywhere reassessing their own relationships—because, in the end, “love is all there is.”

This book, however, is not what I was expecting. The main character is so bland, a shell of a person waiting for someone else to pour them self into him so he can be a whole person. For John Milk that person was Dr. Kinsey - Prok as his colleagues called him. The book starts out with Milk sitting down to record himself on the night of Proks funeral. The only reminder you get of this fact is that he can't keep his story fluid, and at the very end. The narrator, Milk, goes back and forth between stories of his research journey with Prok, in the background is also the story of him and his wife. They call this a love story but I felt like it was far from it. Maybe Milk's love for Dr. Kinsey, but not his own wife. It makes me mad just thinking about how pathetic the narrator was. He loved to build exposition and then there was no point, no give, it was basically all foreplay, since were already talkin' sex research. I know this is a novel, but I still expected to learn something, something besides how unsexy you can make sex. This was like the TBS version of Sex in the City. You think you're going to get a good solid story with maybe some sex but you end up with chopped up stories and the camera always fades away before anything 'good' happens. This should be fascinating but the research is so vague or too sterile and uncomfortable it just gets boring. Honestly, the only reason I'm glad I read it is to see other people's reviews. This is probably the closest review of my thoughts, written much more eloquently.
Let me know, have you read The Inner Circle? What did you think? Have you seen Kinsey? Do you like these book reviews?

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