...this is pulp crap?
I mean I know I should have been paying attention to what people were saying beyond the religious nuttiness, but I didn't. I just did not know that it is chock full of superficiality, predictability, sexism, and mediocre writing skills. Now, I confess entirely that I'm only on page 100, but I just had to pause and put down my thoughts (at least in part because I want something over my pirate pic below because someone told me it makes me look like I'm pumped full of testosterone with my dominant jaw and obvious pumped body! I'd love to look macho when I'm TRYING but I thought I looked hot and more femme than butch in that pic!). Anyhow, back to The Da Vinci Code...
To exemplify my critique, let's begin with Silas's backstory in Chapter 10. I could have guessed the S&M albino thug would have an abusive alcoholic father. I didn't think the novel would bother with his backstory, assuming, as readers likely would, that he'd have some horrid upbringing that led him to zealotry and a willingness to do others' bidding, no matter what was asked. Like Jaws or Oddjob, those over-the-top villain's assistants in the James Bond films, the albino Silas is our generic creepy evil-doer in service of the more evil-doing head villain. So, I didn't need his backstory. When I got it, it was entirely predictable and superficial, down to the butcher knife he used to stab his no-good, spouse- and child-abusing father in the back--and everywhere else, repeatedly. (I'm not arguing, by the way, that alcoholic men don't abuse and even murder their spouses with alarmingly culture-defining frequency; just that it was an easy/cheesy backstory for our albino villain's assistant.)
For sexism, I was truly surprised to see that, with the exception of Silas (who is, let's face it, an emasculated mess), the male characters are referred to by their last names (Langdon, Fache, etc.) while our intrepid cryptologist is always spoken of by her first name (Sophie). She becomes more personalized, less professional, more vulnerable. And I wonder if the author, Dan Brown, did this on purpose or not. I tend to think not.
I could go on, but let me pause here until I finish the novel and just say the whole thing has a kind of cheesy noir feel to it, artificially imposed and leaving me with a smirk on my face the whole time I'm reading it. Nonetheless, the religious symbology stuff is engaging and it is serving its purpose for me: escapism while I care for my very ill father.