Is it Fair to Review A Book I Abandoned?

I recently started a book I couldn’t finish because it was so over the top disgusting and ended up having “on-screen” violence toward a cat. Now, to be fair, I knew it was going to be gruesome. Even without reading the back cover, it’s clearly going to have zombies or cannibalism or something, all of which I’m fine with. I’m even fine with blood and gore. But when it’s grossness just to be gross, it doesn’t seem like horror to me. It almost seems like a little kid saying naughty words for shock factor. That being said, I’d actually started to like this book before the thing with the cat, and had high hopes for it as a YA horror.

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But violence toward animals is an automatic pass for me. Even though I was over 50 pages in, I put it down with no regrets.

It’s rare for me to give a book 1 star on Goodreads. According to their rating system, 1 star means “did not like it.” And why would I finish a book I don’t like? In general, I’ll put a book down as soon as I realize I’m not into it. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. Lots of people loved The Goldfinch, and I was bored out of my mind.

There are plenty of books that I haven’t loved, but kept pushing through and was glad I did. Outlander comes to mind. The first 100 pages are slow and pretty boring. But once I was past that, it flew by (if an 850 page book can be said to “fly”).

John Irving’s books tend to feel slow, but when I get to the end and it all comes together, I’m so glad I read them, because wow.

In both cases, with John Irving’s books and with Outlander, I pushed through the boredom because I had recommendations from people I trusted. Plus, there was no animal cruelty, which is pretty much non-negotiable for me.

So, to sum up, I hated this book, would actively tell people not to read it, for the reasons I mentioned. I took a look at the reviews of this book on Goodreads, and it ends up with a 3.55 rating. It has plenty of 5 star reviews, and an almost equal measure of 1 star reviews. There are 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s as well, but it seems that most people either loved it or hated it.

If I’d finished it, is there a possibility I would have enjoyed it more? I never want to be like those people who trash a book they haven’t even read, based on what they heard about it. If I’m going to offer an opinion, it’s on what I actually did or did not experience.

For that reason, my inclination is not to review it on Goodreads. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Maybe Goodreads needs a “DNF” button so that people can see, in addition to the average rating, how many people abandoned the book. It seems like that would say a lot.

What are your thoughts on this?

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O is for Owen Meany

Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.

My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.

IMG_8382.JPGA Prayer for Owen Meany was on my to read list for a long time before I actually read it. I have a friend whose favorite author is John Irving, and I’m not sure why it was this particular book that made it to my list. Perhaps because it’s on the classics list that I’m still working through.

In any case, Owen is one of the most unique characters I’ve ever come across. John is the narrator of the book, and Owen is his best friend. Owen is smaller than everyone else and has a “tortured” voice. But he’s also kind and selfless.

The book is long, and it took forever to get through, but it was worth it. There’s a payoff at the end that almost makes me want to re-read it (but probably not).

There are so many interesting things I could say about Owen, but the plot is so intricately woven that it’s hard to know which would be spoilers. I’ll just say this: it’s worth reading once. Just make sure you set aside a chunk of time for it.

Are you a John Irving fan? Which is your favorite?

 

 

 

A Prayer for Owen Meany- A review

On Throwback Thursdays, I review an older book.

thI didn’t have high hopes for A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving.  Published in 1989, it’s on my list of 100 Classics that I’m working my way through.  A friend of mine has consistently stated that this is one of her favorite books, and though I love her, she and I often have opposite reactions to books.  She’ll race through things I find dreadfully boring, and I’ll rave about a book she thought was just okay.

I’m also doing a book reading challenge to read a specific type of book every month this year, and that month’s book was to read a book you’ve “been meaning to read.”  I figured that reading this book would kill three birds with one stone.

It’s not the easiest read.  The story captured me from the very beginning, and then promptly had long stretches of boring. It took me awhile to get through it, but I read the last 100 pages breathlessly, shushing my husband when he tried to talk to me.  Sometimes books make you wait until the end to pay off, and you’re like, “That wasn’t worth it.”  This one is.  It’s worth reading the whole thing to get to the ending.  I’m not saying that the ending is the only good part of the book, not at all.  The book is interesting, but the plot moves slowly at times.  Unlike some books that I can read in a single sitting, I read this one a little, put it down, picked it back up, and so on.

I definitely recommend it with two thumbs up, but if you read it, be prepared to put some work into it.  And be prepared to clear your schedule for the ending; you won’t want to take a break at that point.  Trust me.

To my readers, if you read this book, what did you think of it?