Wicked Jenny D requests that I write more
scathing posts about novels you don’t like in which we have to guess what they are and you annoyingly and mysteriously refrain from telling us.
First up I have to establish the rules of this game.
- Rule no. 1: If you are a friend of mine who has heard my rants and knows what books I refer to you may not act like you’re guessing in the comments thread. That would be evil, immoral and wrong.
Rule no. 2: All guesses must be as vague as possible and not include actual book titles or author’s names. That way no author will get offended that you’re even guessing that any of these dreadful books could be by them. This rule does not apply to dead authors.
Rule no. 3: No authors may guess that I’m talking about their novel. I adore all novels written by authors who read this blog. Even those I haven’t read.
Rule no. 4: I will annoyingly and mysteriously refrain from telling you what the books are. Yes, even if you email me and beg.
Despised novel the first:
It starts off and the reader1 thinks it’s going to be the best book of all time. The situation is exciting and funny and wry, but also a little bit sad. It then turns into a blokey stream-of-conscious-my-life-sucks-and-no-girl-loves
-me-especially-not-the-girl-I-have-a-crush-on-who-is-too-good-for-me pile of steaming excrement. Someone is tormenting him. The torments make no sense. He runs around doing stuff. The girl-who-is-too-good-for-him rejects him. The reader is more and more inclined to agree that the girl is too good for him. He does more stuff. The girl unrejects him. The reader is aghast. It all turns out to be a dream. The reader throws the book across the room.
Despised novel the second:
An obsessive bloke ponders whiteness and pursues a whale. Oh, bugger it. The book’s Moby Dick and I hate it so much I cannot express my hatred. Gah! I wish I had never ever tried to wade through its turgidity. Stupid book club.
I do love Melville’s short fiction, but. I’m not a total philistine, people.
And before you suggest it, yes, it’s prolly because I’m not American that I do not get the most genius work your nation has ever produced. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?
Despised novel the third:
There’s a new girl at school. Although she’s worried about how she’ll adjust everyone loves her, even the coolest guy in school. This is fortunate as she loves the coolest guy in school too. They hang out. The new girl falls over a lot. The cool guy picks her up a lot. There are lame unbelieveable obstacles that are quickly cleared. But in the end they are separated for some reason that is not particularly clear to this reader. The follow-up books are even worse and feature more falling over and being picked up. The protag’s real name is Mary Sue.
Despised novel the fourth:
A middle-aged-but-still-sexy-damnit college professor has an affair with one of his students while his wife washes dishes slowly, seeing her life reflected in the suds. Or so the college professor imagines. However, as he rarely speaks to, or pays any attention at all to said wife it’s a puzzle where his conjectures come from. I’m thinking out of his arse whence the novel derives its origin. The protag’s name should be Gary Stu (the male equivalent of Mary Sue). Which is ironic as I bet a gazillion dollars that the esteemed author never heard of no Gary Stu. I confess that I couldn’t even finish this one.
If I get into trouble for this post I would like to point out that it’s Jenny D’s fault. Hate her, not me!
Feel free to rant about novels you hate in the comments. But, please, keep it vague! Very very very vague. We authors are delicate creatures whose feelings can be crushed with even a slightly unenthusiastic word.2 Do you really want to make an author cry?
- I say “the reader” because I cannot conceive of an intelligent human being who could like this book or have a different reaction to it. Sadly I have some friends who do like this book, but clearly they were under the influence of a malign star while reading it, so I forgive them. [↩]
- Possibly even the dead ones. Sorry, Mr Melville! [↩]