Wednesday, 3 November 2010

When your opinion goes against the masses....

When I reviewed The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon in my previous post I was certain of one thing; that the comments would be filled with people declaring their love for the book in response to my rather less than glowing review.

Sometimes it's like that with this blog lark; Chris and I have always been willing to post negative reviews here, if we feel they are deserved, but sometimes we read a book which has had rave reviews everywhere else but for one reason or another it comes up short for us. We are sometimes left wondering if perhaps we missed something.

This is meant to be quite a light hearted post BTW, a mere musing. People who disagree with our posts are always very polite when they say so and there are no issues with that whatsoever. I say that in-case your wondering if something sparked this post!

So just for fun we have listed here some other books which we have really not liked but everyone else seems to have loved;

From Jess

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

I could just about put up with the needlessly gory details of what happens to a human being when they burn alive and I could put up with the ENDLESS descriptions of food which went on in this book but what I could not put up with was the ending which explained bugger all.

The World According to Garp by John Irving

I hated Garp and this was my main problem with this book. I hated him so much that when his wife had an affair I thought 'good on you girl, that'll show him'.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I didn't hate this one, in fact I liked it but for the life of me I can't understand why people love it, for me it was just alright.

From Chris

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

My God but didn't everyone make a fuss over this book. Even Jessica succumbed to the hype. When I declared to her that I didn't like the book she looked at me as if I had told her I was pregnant then said indignantly “Well, you're the only person in the world who doesn't like it”(A statement which I have since discovered is untrue)

I found 'The Road' to be largely boring, bleak, depressing, almost utterly without hope and suffering from a severe case of poor character development. Overall I found the story to be a meandering mess which was always going to end badly.

Don't lend this to someone with depression, you'll drive them over the edge.

I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti

I reviewed this book recently and found the comments I received were mainly from fans or people that had heard positive things about it. I couldn't (and still can't) see what the fuss was about with that book. The characters, without exception, were unlikeable. The plot was nonsensical and the overall ending deeply unsatisfying.

Slaughterhouse 5

Ah, one of my most hated books. I could easily write a ten page review on how naff this book is but I will just highlight a few of my biggest bugbears. The main character was infuriating and completely mad, the story was ridiculous, the phrase 'So it goes' is repeated over and over and over until you want to burn the book (it appears 116 times in 150 pages) the story is disjointed and difficult to follow. Then the author beings to bash the allies for bombing Dresden during the Second World War before falsifying the numbers of casualties the Germans suffered during the raid and calling the bombing “the greatest massacre in European history” Vonnegut was a fool. Even the man himself branded Slaughterhouse 5 a “Failure” he was right about that at least.

For every one hundred people that loved The Time Travelors Wife, there is always someone else (my mum being one of them) who couldn't finish it. A book on Amazon could have three hundred five star ratings and yet still have thirty one star ratings. We hope that anyone reading our reviews will always check out other opinions (unless the reader knows our tastes quite well) because when it all boils down to it, this blog is just our opinion, plain and simple.


  1. I also feel awkward posting negative reviews of much-beloved classics. When I tell people that I hate The Chronicles of Narnia, I always feel like I must have missed out on something.
    But just in case you're wondering, I also hate The Road and Slaughterhouse Five, and I'm not a big fan of The Time Traveler's Wife either. We're not alone!

  2. I have not read The Gargoyle, but my copy just arrived in the mail last week.


    Based on the fact that I LOVE all of the books you list here as hating or not liking so much, I'm moving The Gargoyle to the top of my TBR list.


    I say write what you want to say, and say what you really think. Disagreeing about books is half of the fun. Well....maybe not half, but part of it.

  3. Great post! I keep a running mental list of books everyone loved but I didn't. The Passage, Prep, and The Lovely Bones top my list. I liked Cloud Atlas and Garp (but didn't LOVE Owen Meany like everyone else does). I didn't love Kavalier - but I'm not sure that book was aimed at me since I didn't grow up reading comic books.

  4. Great post. I haven't heard of some of your choices before. I enjoy reading negative reviews especially of 'hype' books.

    I was one of the minority that could not finish Time Travelers Wife, ugggh.

  5. Great post -- everyone is entitled to their opinion about a particular book and as long as the opinion is expressed respectfully there shouldn't be a problem. It makes for interesting discussions when not everyone loves the book anyways.

  6. Okay first I have to say I completely agree with Chris about The Road. Actually, I never even finished the book, but abandoned it partway through because I realized the only reason I was still reading was because there was a section break (for no reason) every couple paragraphs...

    I often find myself feeling negative about universally loved books. Examples from the last two years: The Time Traveler's Wife, Life As We Knew It, and Fingersmith. :/

  7. I love when people post reviews for books they didn't like, and especially when those reviews are well written. That's one of the glorious things about books-we all don't have to agree. I express my distaste for Dickens all the time, even though I know he is well loved. It happens, you know? :)

  8. That's one of the things I love most about books and book bloggers - we don't all have to agree. Reading is really subjective and everybody brings something different to a book.

    (I loved The Road. And Garp. And The Time Traveller's Wife. But I've started Slaughterhouse 5 three times now and I don't think I'll ever make it through!)

  9. I thought the descriptions of being burnt alive in The Gargoyle were amazing - it was the rest of the book I had a problem with!!

    I loved Clod Atlas and The Time Traveller's Wife. I look forward to seeing what I make of The Road.

  10. It's amazing what sorts of reactions one can get to negative reviews of books or parts of books that everyone else loves. I often feel reluctant to be negative just out of anticipation of the flack! The Hunger Games trilogy is a great example of a set of books about which readers felt passionate, and for which opinions expressed in reviews could elicit that most vociferous of comments!

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  12. I so agree with this post. One of the reason I love your blog is that I know I can find honest reviews here. As long as you explain why you don't like the book, it's incredibly helpful to readers.

    No one wants to read a reviews that say every book is ok and someone probably likes it. It doesn't matter what book it is, there will always be some who just can't stand it. Keep up the great work!

  13. High five - I also dislike Garp, and all John Irving actually!
    Something else which the rest of the world seems to love and I thought was really stupid is Wicked. The show was fun, the book was BAD!

  14. I always think it's interesting when it seems that "everyone" likes a certain book, and I just don't -- I always wonder if people just say they like a book to go along with everyone else.

    I agree with Lyndsey about Wicked -- loved the musical and found the book just a drudge to read.

    And ... I freely admit that I hate .... Catcher in the Rye.

  15. Emily - really The Chronicles of Narnia ;) only kidding, totally with you on the others though (apart from the time travelors wife)

    C.B. James - I did actually like most of the Gargoyle but the end made me want to hit things. But yeah you should totally move that up your TBR list LOL

    Marce - I do enjoy reading a negative review of a loved book, I often read the one star reviews on Amazon, not too sure what that says about me though!

    Suzanne - I think you've hit the nail on the head, as long as it is done 'respectfully' like you say.

    Amanda - wow I thought I'd never see someone who disliked Fingersmith LOL I swear sometimes I should just avoid bestsellers.

    Allie - exactly, it happens and hey what can you do. I'm with you on Dickins though, I swear he is responsible for giving me a fear of victorian english lit.

    Clover - its very much our own personal experiences that we bring to a big as well your quite right (I think Chris is totally wrong about The Road)

    Jackie - I LOVED the Road and cried like a baby reading it, I dunno whats wrong with Chris sometimes ;)

    rhapsodyinbooks - yes Ive seen some lively comments with the Hunger Games Trilogy, funny but even though I have no intention of reading them I have enjoyed the divide of opinions on the last book!

    Avid Reader - Thankyou for your kind comments! Yes there is always SOMEONE who spoils the fun eh? ;)

    Lyndsey - AHA a fellow Garp hater! we are a rare breed LOL

    Jo - My sister said the same thing about wicked (shes seen the musical twice)

  16. I always feel uncomfortable posting negative reviews myself. Usually I try to show what I thought best about the book. I try to always go by the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I understand that a true critic should tell what he or she feels, and I appreciate it when others do. For some reason, I have a mental block when it comes to this.

  17. I really disliked THe Road, abslutely didn't get it.

    I started Cloud Atlas last week and didn't keep reading. It just didn't grab me

  18. lol. I love how honest you both are. It's an attitude that's so refreshing and should be followed by every serious book blogger out there.

    I've got 'The Road' on my shelf. Read about 1/5 of it and promptly put it back. It is very bleak with very little direction. And 'Cloud Atlas'... well... I keep looking at that book but something tells me not to spend any of my time on it. I just don't like the title.

  19. It is more interesting to read reviews that go against the grain of popular opinion.

    I find literary classics more appealing than contempory so haven't read most that have been mentioned. I did not like Wicked-- Macguire's Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister wasn't a fave either.
    I read Catcher in the Rye last winter-- don't hate it but sure don't see why some people love it so.

    In the fluff category, I've only read the first Stephanie Plum but I don't get the cult following. Of course, the Plum fans I know don't get why I love some sci/fi-fantasy series.

  20. I made it halfway through the audio of The Road and just watched the movie. Totally agree with your assessment :)

  21. Great post! I appreciate honesty. Different strokes for different folks. With 60 pages to go, I threw The Time Travelers Wife in the garbage. I also was left wondering what all the hoopla with Catcher in the Rye was all about.

  22. thank you! i hated the gargoyle and the road, for the same reasons. thank you again!

  23. Not sure how I would have missed this post. But inspires me to do one myself! Welcome any sort of honesty than reading sycophantic reviews! :)

  24. I just found this post so I'm a little late, but I didn't like The Road either. I thought it was so depressing. I kept seeing reviews where people were saying that the ending was hopeful. How? It was so bleak. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

    I do have Cloud Atlas on my nightstand. We'll see how it turns out.

  25. What a fun post! It's refreshing to be able to let loose on some much hyped reads. I also didn't like Kavalier & Clay, The Road, or Cloud Atlas. Another one that everyone seems to like that I seriously don't is Love in the Time of Cholera. ick.

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