"Da Vinci Code" Outrage
Where to begin with this one.
For those of you too busy rocking yourselves back and forth in the corner of your dead husband's apartment, crying uncontrollably for the past 15 or 20 years, let me fill you in: A few years ago, March 2003 to be exact, a book was released that changed the literary world, nay, the entire world, forever. That book was called "The Da Vinci Code" written by Dan "Doo Doo" Brown, 454 pages of easily digestable action that anyone from your great granddad to your unborn fetus could enjoy.
The sensation of Da Vinci code had mongoloids all over the country dusting off their ol' readin' monocle and sinking their teeth into this page-turning mystery. I, on the other hand, was so turned off by its success that I refused to purchase it, even to borrow it. The idea of following Mr. Brown's siren-like flouting along with every other human on the face of the planet really turned me off. But the other reason for not wanting to read it will shock you even further...
Namely, I was too lazy to carry a hardcover book around.
I'm known for my delicate and sensitive talons.
It wasn't until Thanksgiving of 2005, spending the weekend with a friend's family in Boston, that I saw a well-worn copy of the book on their shelf. Over two years later, and talk of the book had started to die down since the height of its popularity, when even small, malnourished Ethiopian children were fantasizing about the budding romance between Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu, when eskimos created over 300 words for "chalice", and even Da Vinci's corpse himself was spotted perusing its pages at a Milan Starbucks with a wide-eyed ferocity seen only in the most innocent of startled children.
Curiously, I slowly pulled the book off the shelf and placed it in my lap. I wiped the dust film off of Mona's serene gaze, and opened the cover with a satisfying, and yet barely audible, crack. And what I found on that first page was far more intense and electrifying than I ever could have imagined.
The title page. There it was, in big letters, "The Da Vinci Code". Was this my time? Had curiosity gotten the better of me? Truth is, I had been waiting patiently for the book to come out in paperback, and yet 2 and a half years later, the hardcover was still the only version to be seen. And having to commute 40 minutes each way to work on the subway, I didn't really feel like shlepping this "genius tome" around with me (although hoisting 48 different kinds of lip gloss and the blowdryer from "Spaceballs" has never posed much of a problem.) Be patient, Michelle, the paperback will come.
But it hadn't. So it was on a couch in Sharon, Massachusettes that I decided "Today is the day", turned to page one, and immersed myself in intrigue on a 5th grade reading level.
Admittedly, it took me 2 weeks to finish it. Let it be known that another popular trend I have no problem being a part of, Su Doku, every now and again rears its ugly head and I find myself furiously scribbling random number patterns into squares like a poutier Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind... so the book came and went out of my purse depending. I finished the book, and after a couple of days making fun of its style with close and personal friends, forgot about it. Was it as bad as I thought it would be? Not at all. Pretty good story, good action. And the fact that it was even written at all now enables me to see Paul Bettany playing a celibate albino monk who insists on a cilice belt (or thorns) around his loins in the upcoming movie. (For that, Mssr. Brown, I thank you.)
"Da Vinci Code" was OK, but "Mona Lisa Is Missing" was a heart-stopping journey where I chose what happened.
It wasn't until I was in a bookstore overseas last week that my pent up fury against "The Da Vinci Code" and its publishers came flooding out with a gusto seen only during the mightiest of hurricanes, when I spotted something so shocking, so fabled, that my eyes and mind held a conference at the Hungarian Ramada Inn to discuss whether or not what it had just witnessed was truth or, more likely, fiction...
THE DA VINCI CODE HAD COME OUT IN PAPERBACK OVERSEAS.
Don't believe me?
Get your clicking fingers out and see THE very paperback on sale at Amazon UK.
Look familiar? It shouldn't, unless you're a lucky European.
The worst part? It's been available in paperback form in Europe since APRIL of TWO-THOUSAND-AND-MOTHERFUCKING-FOUR. Why the HELL, THE HELL, has this book not been released in paperback in the states?? I'll tell you why:
Because Dan Brown and his cronies over there at Doubleday KNOW that they can BILK the American public not only out of $24.95 (its retail price), but ALSO out of countless hours of sore, tired hands and bulky, overstuffed bags. I let my feelings be known to all of the people in the bookstore at the time, and while someone did toss a tuppens my way (appreciated, maam), nobody seemed to have any idea of what I was talking about. It wasn't until I came back to America this past weekend, my rage still boiling under the surface, that I saw this article:
First US paperback of "Da Vinci Code" due in March
Well la-di-fuckin-da! March!? Of 2006?! Two years after the Europeans were laughing it up on the beaches of France and Croatia while toting their highly portable, inexpensive paperbacks of the very same book?!?!
Shaking out the common man for any spare change he's got layin' around.
I want answers. Forget James Frey for a second -- why is Dan Brown robbing America?
Stay tuned for my upcoming novel "The Michaelangelo Cypher", coming out in hardcover in June 2006 and in paperback in August 2014. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the movie, a romantic thriller starring Gerard Depardieu and Sienna Miller.
Also, for a money-grubbing gypsy, Dan Brown looks like a pretty nice guy.
A little Corben Bernsen-y, sure, but nice.
UPDATE: Jill Murray writes in from Canada:
I don't want to make you lose your shit or anything but the paperback has actually been even closer than you think, all along. That's right, it's been available in Canada for years -- just a few short highway hours from NYC. The publishing licenses fell in such a way that Canada sells the UK edition. (For this reason. We also get our Harry Potters with their original wacky British titles and assorted names for baked goods. Not that I really read those either.)
Ugh! As if Cuban cigars and bargain lumber weren't bad enough, now Canada has yet another leg up on the States! Excuse me, little boy? Have you seen my shit? Because I have lost it.