It’s time again to catalogue the books I’ve tried to read — and I mean really, really tried — but just couldn’t stomach in the end. It’s just a personal preference, friends; my massive dislike of these books may translate to a total romantic love affair for you.
But as it stands? They’re on my bad list. Or, you know, my “could not finish” list.
Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro
Where I stopped: page 104
Oh, Laurie Notaro . . . Laurie Notaro. Why are you doing this to me? I’m completely obsessed with your memoirs, which are easily some of the funniest things I’ve ever read in my life — but your novels? They’re just dry. Drier than pork chops. I hate pork chops. And I really disliked this book.
I picked up Spooky Little Girl without even a vague idea of the plot, which turned out to be a mistake — because hey, this was weird. Lucy has recently come home from a vacation to find all her worldly possessions tossed out on her front lawn — and her fiance, or ex-fiance, is nowhere to be found. After moving in with her sister, Lucy has a particularly bad day . . . when she’s suddenly killed and winds up in purgatory. Or is it? Nope — it’s Ghost School, and Lucy is expected to be a star pupil. She winds up there, some stuff happens, I get confused . . . and put the book down.
After reading more than 100 pages, this just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Plus? Well, it was morbid. Attending your own funeral — a funeral which no one, including your recent ex-fiance, attends? Ghost school? Dead people in general? Meh. I don’t know. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. Though it sounds like if I’d stuck with the book I could have been introduced to Lucy’s funny, fresh grandmother, I couldn’t make it that far.
The third-person perspective also failed to move me, thereby strengthening my prejudice against any novel not told with an “I” voice. I want to feel the feelings; I want to be the character. I’m selfish and want an all-access pass to someone’s brain. Unless done incredibly well, third-person narration just doesn’t work for me.
Currently, it has an average score of 3.59/5 on Goodreads based on 374 ratings.
Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives by Josie Brown
Where I stopped: page 81
Picked up at the Book Blogger Convention this year, I was initially eager to tackle Brown’s women’s fiction novel. That enthusiasm quickly faded, however, as I was struck down by my most dreaded of all literary problems: Too Many Characters-itis.
I’ve complained about it many times. When you bombard me with too many women who are way too similar, I can’t discern one from the other — and I quickly lose interest. If I feel like I have to make a map and scrawl attributes next to each name, I’m going to get annoyed. And then? And then I stop reading the book. Not always, sure, but this time — I couldn’t stomach it.
I started this book more than a month ago and plowed through more than 80 pages before I gave up. It was obvious exactly where it was going, and I had no vested interest in any of the characters I was currently spending time with. The bit of “mystery” surrounding one man’s divorce in Paradise Heights, an uppity California neighorhood, was no real mystery to me — and, when I was sure I wouldn’t be finishing this one, I flipped to the epilogue. And everything I’d guessed from the beginning? Yep. True. All true. If I’d stuck with it, I can’t help but feel like I would have wasted my time.
Currently, it has an average score of 3.81/5 on Goodreads based on 54 ratings.