Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Disappointment in Reading (to say the least!)

What do you do when a book, an author, or both, disappoint you? I mean really disappoint you.

Do you continue to read the book although you want to throw it against the wall at high velocity and yell, “Are you KIDDING me!!!”

Or do you just guts your way through it and then chock it up to not liking the book?

At one time I would have done the latter. I would have plowed through a book because if I started it I had to finish it. I was not a quitter thank you very much.

But as I have gone through life and as I have seen my list of books that I want to read grow larger every year I gave myself permission NOT to finish a book. I give it some time, usually until 1/2 way through the book before I decide that it just isn’t working for me. If I get to that point I will move on to something else. My reading time is valuable to me.

Usually, if there is a book that I don’t like I don’t necessarily have a visceral reaction to it. But there are those times……..

Like when I read The Shack. Yes, I know that there are many who love and praise the book.

I. Loathed. It.

And then there is Eat, Pray, Love. Another book that women seem to love and I just really didn’t like.

But both of the above titles were “stand alones” for me. I hadn’t read any other works by the author. I didn’t have much invested in the relationship as it were. I didn’t really care that I didn’t like the book. I moved on.

However, it is a different matter when you read a book by an author that you love and that book is so disappointing that it takes your breath away. And you want to throw up your hands and throw the book and throw knives and whatever.

That is how I feel about Cleaving by Julie Powell. Disappointment just doesn’t begin to cover it.

Most everyone knows Julie Powell because she wrote the book Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. I knew who she was long before that because I had read her blog for most of the year that she spent cooking through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I loved the blog. I loved her writing despite her admitted love for the “F” word. So I was excited to read her next book.

Imagine if you will a book that details (in a most boring fashion) her obsession with learning to cut meat in a butcher shop. It sounds interesting but in her hands it so wasn’t. But even more than that imagine a book where she writes ad nauseum about (in more detail than I EVER wanted to know) her affair of more than two years with a man that she knew in college and re-connected with after her fame and fortune arrived. An affair that her husband knew about from almost the beginning but that she declined to stop. An affair that, when it did end…for a time at least, had her sleeping with other anonymous men. Oh and she details THAT as well.

Yes, imagine that. Or better yet don’t. I am not sure if I have ever been so disappointed in a book that I had anticipated so much. I got about 3/4 of the way through and wondered why she had a book contract and who thought this drivel would be good and, and…

if it hadn’t been a library book that I was reading I really would have chucked it against the wall.

It goes back to the library tomorrow. Thank goodness I didn’t actually buy the thing. And now I need to find something else to read that can cleanse my brain of this awful, disappointing piece of horse pucky. I think I just need to re-read The Lord of the Rings for the……….20th time or so. I KNOW that is good.


  1. I'm so sorry that the book turned out that way for you. In truth, after seeing the movie I went and found Julie's blog and thought her to be the most self-centered, immature child. I wasn't at all surprised that Julia didn't want to meet her. If you've not read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, I recommend that. The first is a bit like a Harlequin romance, but she learns after that and the historical fiction takes over for a fun, wild ride.

  2. I've heard so many bad things about this book, I know I'll never even try it. But I'm sorry your hopes were dashed! That's never fun :(

    And I didn't love The Shack, either. First of all, I thought it was written quite badly -- very stilted and self-help-like.

    Here's to The Lord of the Rings!

  3. Oh yes, yes must read Lord of The Rings. :) I always kind of felt sorry for Gollum..even though he was a bit weird. I have lost count of the number of times I have read it...and probably will again just as many more.

  4. I am so WITH you on The Shack. you, I very rarely stop reading a book. I suffer through. That one, though--blech. Edna enjoyed Julie and Julia, but I never read it...I might stay away from her altogether. :-)

  5. Everyone seems to love Nicholas Sparks but me! I find all his books a bit sappy. Just me?

  6. When a bad book is only mediocrely (new word!!!) bad, I'll donate it to a thrift shop somewhere. When it's BAD bad, I toss it into that round File 13. IMHO The Shack would qualify for File 13 at my house. lol

  7. I have to tell you (and I believe the eldest? of your Progeny), that I have only reached chapter 7 of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and am in LOVE with it. One of those books I can't wait to get back to. Thank you for sending it our way! (I beat Kristen to it!)

    There have been a couple of pop culture novels I've started recently while in search of a guilty pleasure for the summer, but I just couldn't get past the first few chapters. That's what I get for veering off my reliable "to read" list.

  8. I think I can up you on throwing a book at the wall. Burning. Oh, I was so very miffed and upset, and just plain weirded out by a book I bought. I cannot even say its name it was so bad. We live out in the boonies, so burning was an option. We already had a pile, so it was just thrown in that.

    I tend to stay away from best sellers. I know I will usually be disappointed.


Thank you SOOO much for commenting. We bloggers, of which I am such a minnow in such a big pond, live for our comments.