Much of my time on this blog is spent talking about the books I enjoyed and loved. But sometimes? Sometimes I want to talk about the books I absolutely hated. Defining the elements of books I dislike helps me better define elements I enjoy. The nature of this post demands ranting and raving so beware – spoilers ahead!
John Steinbeck’s The Pearl
Guys, I read John Steinbeck’s The Pearl in middle school – MIDDLE SCHOOL – and the thought of it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It is an incredibly depressing read. How depression you wonder? The narrator’s infant son is murdered at the end of the novella! The family walks off into the sunset (or sunrise, I can’t remember the exact details) holding their dead, infant son. No wonder reading sometimes has a bad rap in school. This book did help me understand I generally enjoy a happy or positive ending. Find the synopsis to The Pearl below:
Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull’s egg, as “perfect as the moon.” With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security…
A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man’s nature, greed, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.
Molly McAdams’ Taking Chances
This is a love triangle done so, so wrong. I detest Harper and Chase from Molly McAdams’ Taking Chances. Talk about two self-centered, unsympathetic characters. Their relationship is unhealthy. I didn’t enjoy the relationship between Brandon and Harper either. Brandon deserved WAY better than Harper. The ending is just – UGH – so ridiculous. Harper and Chase get their happily ever after while Brandon is iced? Just no. Hard pass. This book helped me understand I need to connect and like the main characters in order to enjoy their stories. Find the synopsis to Taking Chances below:
Eighteen-year-old Harper has grown up under the thumb of her career marine father. Ready to live life her own way and to experience things she’s only ever heard of from the jarheads in her father’s unit, she’s on her way to college at San Diego State University.
Thanks to her new roommate, Harper is introduced to a world of parties, gorgeous guys, family, and emotions. She finds herself being torn in two as she quickly falls in love with both her new boyfriend, Brandon, and her roommate’s brother, Chase. Despite their dangerous looks and histories, both men adore Harper and would do anything for her, including taking a step back if it would mean she’d be happy.
Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss had so much potential to be great. So. Much. Potential. However, I disliked the romance between Anna and Etienne intensely. Their friendship flirts with romance the majority of the book despite St. Clair already being in a committed relationship with someone else. To add misery to pain, St. Clair continues to be in a relationship with this other girl because he doesn’t want to be alone. I don’t enjoy cheating narratives. And yes, for the people in the back, emotionally cheating (which is done often between Anna and St. Clair) is still cheating. Find the synopsis to Anna and the French Kiss below:
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
I’m a big believer in the “every book a reader” philosophy. If you enjoy the stories above, wonderful. But they all helped me better understand what I’m looking for in an enjoyable read, and it’s not them.