Friday, June 20, 2008

About Nothing to Lose

Sorry to have been AWOL. I've been overloaded with challenges.

I'm interviewing physicians and radiologists and, because I'm me, I picked the same time to resign my job. Therefore, now I'm not only interviewing doctors, I'm also doing job interviews. [Shakes head sadly]

However, as a good friend reminded me, "You're not unemployed; you're just unjobbed."

When I resigned, my boss asked me to stay to find my own replacement. Since I'd impulsively quit without finding another job first (something I strongly recommend against), AND because I don't want to be without insurance at the same time I'm contemplating surgery, of course, I agreed.

Fortunately, the university didn't want me to leave. I've had three potential offers--two in my own department and one from another department that is starting up a $75,000,000 project. I've almost agreed to accept one of the jobs. We've nailed down the position itself. Now we're talking about details of the offer. Hopefully, I'll be jobbed again by Wednesday.

I purchased Lee Child's new thriller Nothing to Lose the day it came out three weeks ago.

If you're not familiar with Child, you're missing a treat. Nothing to Lose is the twelfth outing for his hero Jack Reacher. Reacher is a ex-military cop who was cashiered out as the armed services ramped down--obviously before we ramped up in the Middle East [Grin]. Reacher is a wanderer who hitchhikes his way across the U.S.

In previous posts, I've likened Reacher to Shane, the loner who rides into a troubled situation, utilizes his special skills to bring about resolution and leaves.

There have been numerous articles about the large number of women readers the series has. In June, 2006, Jeffrey Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal said, "[D]espite his brutish ways, Reacher is doing something surprising: winning the hearts of many women readers. Of the 20,000 fans world-wide that have joined the Reacher Creatures fan club, an estimated 65% are female."

In Nothing to Lose, Child evokes not Shane but Rambo.

Reacher is en route diagonally across the country from Maine to San Diego, for no other reason than he wants to do so. He hitchhiked to Hope, Colorado from Kansas and then walked from Hope to the next town, Despair. The imagery is not wasted.

According to the book's cover:
Two small towns in the middle of nowhere: Hope and Despair. Between them, nothing but twelve miles of empty road. Jack Reacher can't find a ride, so he walks. All he wants is a cup of coffee. What he gets are four hostile locals, a vagrancy charge, and an order to move on. They're picking on the wrong guy.

Reacher is a hard man. No job, no address, no baggage. Nothing at all, except hardheaded curiosity. What are the secrets that Despair seems so desperate to hide?

The UK's Guardian has a story about Child, Reacher and the fact that Nothing to Lose is #1 on the New York Times hardback fiction list.

The Guardian also reports that "Tom Cruise's production company has bought movie rights, although Child says he would want a Lawrence Dallaglio lookalike in the lead role."

In a recent interview Child said something interesting:
Women are very offended by injustice and the story of each book is something very unjust, and by the end of the book Reacher has made it just, and women cheer that on.

I suspect that anyone with a strong sense of fair play--male or female--would enjoy the Jack Reacher novels. The good guy always wins, although sometimes at great cost.

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