Review: The Lost Symbol

Five bucks and a tube sock full of pistachio nuts to whomever bitch slaps Dan Brown on my behalf.

Bring the backhand around for a second pass, and I’ll promise to ensure the tube sock is clean.

Now, I’m not a Dan Brown hater, who knew I was going to dislike the book before I even read it. I don’t particularly like his books, but I don’t hate them, either. He has some good ideas, he just can’t seem to write them down in an evocative or interesting way.

This review contains some mild spoilers. That shouldn’t matter, because it’s a fucking Dan Brown potboiler. The whole point of reading it is you ALREADY KNEW WHAT THE FUCK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. If you didn’t…well, I’m sorry, but I have to revoke your library card. Please cut it up until itty bitty pieces, place it in a just opened bottle of Rittenhouse 100 Bonded Rye whiskey, and mail it to me at PO Box 132, Madison, WI 53717.

In The Lost Symbol, Brown continues his tradition of leading you through the story using a carrot on a stick, a ring in your nose, and a riding crop on your ass. If it were any more obvious that he wanted you to read the book non-stop because you have to know what happens next, the book would be called Don’t Put Me Down.

Actually, that would have been a good name for this review. Not that Dan Brown will read it. Or ever know that I exist. Or even spit upon me from the lofty golden perch he has erected with the millions of dollars he has made.

Here, Mr. Brown pulls us through another Robert Langdon adventure, in which the college professor saves the world from the horror that would occur if we knew what the Freemasons did.

Except we know what the Freemasons do. We know they drink wine from skulls, and practice ritual death, and do all those crazy things. We read books about it ages ago. People do weirder things every day, and most of them don’t make the news, even if they do involve politicians.

Also, even if half the government got kicked to the curb, and special elections were held for everything imaginable, we’d just be a few extra billion in the hole, and a bunch of idiots just like the last ones would be in office. Only the rich can afford to run for public office, and precious few of them give a flying fuck about really doing anything good for the country.

So, the neat part of the book is the part about how we’re surrounded by symbols, many of them masonic. Which is true. Many of the founding fathers were Freemasons. Freemasons are pretty awesome, and have a great love for imparting wisdom incrementally, so learning is a journey. They like symbols, because they provide a feeling of enlightenment when you decode them.

So, Mr. Langdon follows a crazy dude through the nation’s capital, National Treasure style, and some people die. others get hurt. there’s some even crazier crap about Noetics that I don’t disagree with, but feels so tacked on in an effort to prove his points about apotheosis and the power of the human mind that they’re laughable.

Read the book if you want to see a pretty decent outline for a story that will probably make a great Hollywood big budget screenplay, and is a pretty damned middle of the road novel.

And don’t forget to smack Dan brown for me.

By the way…it was Mr. Brown. In the library. With the shotgun.


~ by Benjamin Kenneally on April 14, 2010.

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