‘But they said it was good!’ – Book Hype and Disappointment

One of my pet peeves as a book lover is books that everyone reads because of the hype that aren’t actually good books. My friends inevitably read these books (despite my warnings) and then are disappointed. If you’re looking for quality reading, don’t read these over-hyped bestsellers.

  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

It’s a movie from a book, so you want to read the book first right? Well, normally I’m in total support of this. But on this one? Well, just don’t bother. If you read the book you’ll like it at first and end up annoyed by the end. You may even feel you wasted your time. You may sit there at the end going “Really? That’s how it ended? Really? That’s what the characters ended up as?” over and over until your friends tell you to shut up or leave the coffee shop because this is a public place and people are staring. This was definitely a book I felt had potential, but it ran out of steam (and flew off in various directions) the more it went on. The characters fell flat and ended up disappointing me in their inability to evolve or have original thought. Save yourself the time, just watch the movie, I hear it’s pretty good. But then, I heard that about the book too.. and look how that ended up.

  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert 

This book pisses me off. Seriously, it slightly enrages me. And I’m saying “slightly” because I don’t want you to think I’m a crazy person who walks around shaking her fist and fuming over a book years after it’s been released, but that may all be true. I read this book because so many people spoke well of it and I love traveling books and I love books that don’t depict women as helpless creatures who need saving, so I was all in. At first. Then I read the damn thing and was so angry.

Firstly, it’s badly written. The initial part (Eat) was pretty interesting and kept me pretty engaged. She goes to Italy, she eats food, experiences new culture and finds a little independence. Great! But then the book spiraled downward. The writing became tedious and less descriptive. The actual action of the book became almost non-existent. Suddenly, nothing was happening for chapters and chapters and yet she still had to fill that space because she made the trip with the contract to write a book about it, which is totally backwards because now she had to manufacture some kind of plot to fill those pages.

The worst was Pray, it was incredibly hard to get through. A lot of prattling on with no discernible point. And then, to top it off, after starting the book because of the premise – a divorced woman finding herself becoming independent while traveling the world – she ends with her finding happiness because she hooks up with a new guy. See: enraged. If you’re going to write a book about finding contentedness within yourself, being alone and experiencing the world, then do it. But don’t pretend to do it and then take it all back at the end because you found a new flame. Geezis.

  Twilight by Stephanie Meyer 

I can’t. It’s just. So. Awful.

My faith in humanity almost died for eternity after Twilight became a best-seller. Badly written, horrible grammar, non-sensical descriptions, trite plot. And then to add grievous insult to injury, Bella spends all the books crying, wailing and waiting for some male to save her. It’s everything I’ve ever loathed in a book. And it somehow sold millions. COME ON AMERICA! What were you thinking? I read it because friends (who I now wonder why we are friends, because really? You thought this was a good book? A lot of trees DIED for this piece of crap you know.) told me to read it before I judged it, so I did. And I do. Judge it. Greatly.

 Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Some friends and I decided to read this book at the same time so we could all talk about it. We heard it was really well written, inspiring and had great storytelling. So much hype, for so little reward. It was well written, I’ll give it that. The descriptions, the imagery, the prose, all very well done. But the story itself broke down over and over. I’d be interested for a couple chapters and then he’d lose me completely. I’d barely be able to scrape my way through the next 50 pages and then suddenly, it was great again! I loved this book! And then.. once again, I could barely the turn the page. It felt a lot like reading a broken down car that starts and stops unexpectedly. In the end, I couldn’t finish it. Maybe someday I’ll try again, but this book was still one of the biggest disappointments for me in the past few years.

Now that I’ve ranted a bit, what are some books you were excited for because of the hype but ended up disappointing you? Add to my list! I’d love to hear about it.

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4 thoughts on “‘But they said it was good!’ – Book Hype and Disappointment

  1. Good call. I hated “Gone Girl.” After I read it, I realized, “I’ve been slimed!” None of the characters in that book have a redeeming characteristic – they are all disgusting.

    As for Cutting for Stone, I really tried to like this book, but just couldn’t finish it. And that’s rare. I mean, I actually finished 1Q84!

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