I hate the book. Now what?

Posted Oct 8 2010, 9:00 am in

Regular blog readers know by now that a group of my twitta sistas formed a virtual book club called Book Hungry. We each take turns nominating a book, and then review it, blog-fest style, on our blogs on the third Thursday of each month.

This month, we’re tackling Beauty, a retelling of The Beauty and The Beast, by Robin McKinley and I…  well, I just blurt it out… I hate it. It’s dull, boring, meandering, and I feel horrible. It’s not often that I don’t like a book that I’ve read and when it does happen, I find myself ill equipped to handle it. I feel arrogant. Who am I? What have I written that gives me the right to so blithely criticize someone’s work?

Argh! I’m not liking myself very much right now. Maybe I need to give it another chance. Maybe I’m missing something.

What advice can you give me for reviewing a book I don’t like?



6 responses to “I hate the book. Now what?”

  1. Linda G. says:

    I think you can write a post about how sometimes we, as readers, just don’t connect with a book. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad book, just that it didn’t strike the right chord with us, personally. And that’s okay. Different strokes for different folks. :)

  2. Tawna Fenske says:

    I second what Linda said — as every writer knows, this business is highly, highly subjective. What one editor or agent hates, another may absolutely adore. Same holds true for published work, and that’s really the beauty of it all. Just like an editor’s rejection doesn’t mean “this is a bad book,” your review will just mean “this was something I didn’t personally care for, but others may feel differently.”


  3. This doesn’t happen to me often. Usually, I can find something about a book that I like. But, when I review something, I go the whole Pro/Con approach because certain things you might not like will appeal to others. Hope that helps :)

    • Patty says:

      Linda and Tawna, thanks, that helps.
      Karla, you’re right; this rarely happens to me. I love all books and it’s so unusual for me to NOT like one. I just feel all Simon Cowell-y.

  4. I agree with what Karla said. Sandwich the bad in with whatever good you did find in the book.

    I am still in the middle of this read, okay, more on the beginning but it is not holding my attention. I am going to approach this like a would a reading assignment for school and tackle a little bit a day. I will keep notes on the things that I do like so hopefully when I get to the end I can write a fair review.

  5. abby mumford says:

    i think you should start off with the one nugget you liked and then move onto what you didn’t. (the good news before the bad, right?)

    i just really think it’s so important to read all kinds of books, especially ones you hate, because it’s easier to figure out what you didn’t like, why it didn’t work, etc. and then you can make sure to avoid that when you’re writing your own stuff.