The headline here is an ironic acronym coined by my daughter Elizabeth and me. It stands for Triumph Of The Human Spirit. We use it to describe a particular kind of fiction in which the hero or heroine overcomes incredible adversity, all the while remaining almost inhumanly Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.

Books like Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much is True come to mind. Elizabeth, by the way, refers to that particular novel by the name I Know This Book is Long. She’s right. I waded through the thing myself—all 912 pages of it—and I’ve been on a strict Wally-free literary diet ever since.

My wife Marge just finished another TOTHS novel a day or two ago and noticed a couple of surprising typographical/grammatical errors in the thing.  When she told me about this I assumed that she had been reading a cheap edition, but on second thought I’m beginning to wonder if the problem was that the proofreader kept nodding off. There is, after all, a limit to how much TOTHS anyone can take.

3 Replies to “TOTHS”

  1. Amen to that, Darlene. We’re all ready for a long, long break from having to be so damned heroic about everything.

  2. Don’t even get me started. I’d say Mom is better educated than the average TOTHS reader. While I understand the impulse to read novels in which good things ultimately happen to good people, I don’t see the need to stray so far from what could reasonably be called “literary.” Any novel by Jane Austen (just for example) would provide a satisfyingly happy ending following numerous plot twists and obstacles, and the reader would likely be somewhat better for the wear. Rage, rage, against Oprah’s book club.

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