We’ve all come across books we’ve hated. Maybe it was assigned reading in school, a poor selection from the bookstore, or a recommendation from a friend who was sure we’d love it, there are just some books we don’t get along with. At all.
So in no particular order, here are five books I wanted to throw at a wall, and the reason I didn’t actually do it.
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger- A friend gave me this one. It was one of his favorites, and after I tore through the compendium of Vonnegut novels he loaned me, he was sure our tastes were the same. If he had asked me my opinion of The Catcher in the Rye, he would have known that our tastes were, in fact, not the same. Because it was a well-intentioned gift and because I thought my lousy experience reading The Catcher in the Rye might have been a fluke, I gave Franny and Zooey a shot. Suffice it to say that I did not enjoy this book. At all. It is entirely about two privileged teenagers whining about their privilege and how phony the rest of the world is. I read the whole thing because it is a short book. If it had been any longer, I would have stopped.
Why didn’t I throw the book at the wall? It was a gift, and I didn’t want to have to tell my friend that I had thrown it at a wall.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- Milquetoast white girl moves to a place where it rains a lot, proceeds to whine that no one likes her (even though all the other kids in school are really very nice to her), and falls for a boy who seems to loathe her. Because that’s somehow romantic..? She figures out that he’s a vampire and instead of running away screaming like an intelligent human being would, she decides that his being a century old bloodsucker makes him even sexier. And he’s stalking her. And he shows some clear signs of being abusive. But that’s okay, right? I mean, they fall in love each other, so that makes the abuse okay, right….? Yeah, no. Crappy prose and stupid vampires aside, Twilight romanticizes domestic violence, and that is never, ever okay. Not even in a lousy paranormal romance.
Why didn’t I throw the book at the wall? Throwing books at walls damages them, and I wanted to sell it to recoup at least a fraction of my loss.
The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory- I decided to give Gregory another shot after my disastrous reading of The Other Boleyn Girl (which I did throw against the wall), so I moved onto another of Henry VII’s six wives that I was pretty sure Gregory didn’t have a grudge against: Kateryn Parr. But she apparently did have some sort of grudge, because Gregory took this intelligent, cosmopolitan woman and made her look like a dim-witted country cousin because… I don’t know why. Philippa Gregory claims to be a ‘feminist historian’, but in the books I’ve read by her, the women spend their time tearing each other down, as Kateryn’s cousin did when she gossiped about Catherine Howard. I’ve given Gregory two tries, and I’m not putting up with her anymore.
Why didn’t I throw the book at the wall? I had checked out the digital edition from the library. I did not want to break my tablet, so I quietly tapped the ‘return now’ option in my settings while I fumed.
Grave Mercy (Book 1 of the His Fair Assassin trilogy) by Robin LeFevers- I had heard a glowing review of this trilogy on one of my favorite podcasts, and after reading about the premise, I thought it sounded pretty cool. Sadly, I couldn’t stand the main character. I realize that Ismae is seventeen, and so doesn’t have a lot of wisdom yet, but I found her to be so arrogant and dense that she couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I got so annoyed with her sniping and her disdain for just about everyone and everything around her that I quit reading and never went back.
Why didn’t I throw the book at the wall? This was another digital download. I didn’t want to break my tablet.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne- I didn’t so want to throw this one at the wall so much as I wanted to throw it at my classmates. We read this book my junior year in high school, and while we were in an honors class and my classmates were normally bright people, they simply could not get Hawthorne’s didactic metaphors through their skulls. After we spent a month and a half on this relatively slim book, I wanted to take all the copies and fling them at each and every one of my classmates.
Why didn’t I throw the book at the wall? It was the school’s book, and I didn’t want to get in trouble, even though I think my teacher would have mentally cheered if I had thrown it at the annoying boy in the second row.
Are there any books you would nave gladly thrown at a wall given the chance?