Sometimes, getting lured by glowing Goodreads review may make you end up with a bummer.
Here, three such duds for me:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
When you pit your almost-antagonistic view against the shower of praises, you are bound to hesitate (if you’re like me) from reviewing “The Hate U Give” which deals with racism.
Being a brown person, living in a non-white country that is obsessed with white complexion, I can very understand the POV of Starr Carter– the protagonist.
Honestly, I am aware of the racism in America only on a surface level. Otherwise, it would be “Pot calling…” case.
I can emphasize with the core message of the book. But it ends right there.
The rest came to me as a big pity-party and reverse-racism.
“You can’t even tell me what’s going on!”
“You’re white, okay?” I yell. “You’re white!”
“I’m white?” he says, like he’s just hearing that for the first time. “What the f***’s that got to do with anything?”
I’m more sensitive about it because recently I came to know:
- I am a savarna (whatever the eff that means) Hindu,
- drenched in privilege and
- should be ashamed of my ancestry.
These makes me baffled. Just like it did to Star’s boyfriend Chris (though Chris was real Mr. moneybag on the book)
Here an excerpt of a review that put it out far more succinctly
“Now, I love that this book focused on an unjust police shooting, but I think the author took a wrong turn when she decided to focus on “blacks” and “whites.” My question is: why was the police officer’s skin color the main focus of this book? Shouldn’t the fact that he’s a police officer who unjustly shot somebody be the reason for Starr getting so angry about her friend’s death? Black people are unjustly shot by police officers, yes, but so are white people.”
( read the rest here).
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
– Genesis 30
These lines were quoted more than one time on Hulu‘s “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
It made me skim through “The Red Tent” once again and dislike it (again) wee bit more.
I get the retelling of mythology genre, especially in the light of feminism.
However “The Red Tent“, devoid of likable male characters, took it to another level.
Men, here, were (largely) lusty fanatics using women as the breeding machines.
I won’t deny the context, but at least, there could have been some redeeming qualities in them.
In absence of that, the rebellion of protagonist Dinah never came with a bang.
World Without End (Kingsbridge #2) by Ken Follet
I read the first book of Kingsbridge Series, “The Pillars of the Earth” and found it-
- gripping, and
- an idiots guide to 12th century England, the anarchy-era and the conflict between church and the state.
But “World Without End” disappointed bigly ( Thank you, Trump, for the term).
In the first book, the battle revolved around building a cathedral.
Here, replace it with a bridge, then throw in some medieval-style
- morally ambiguous characters passed off as angels-incarnated,
- gory tortures by greedy monks,
…. you get the drift.
However, the fun is- once you are into the book, you can’t swat away the vastness, the complexity it offers all so easily.
Well, it happened to me.
I finished off this voluminous book and suddenly realized- all I got, in the end, is sweet-nothing.
Would I read the third book of the series “A Column of Fire“? Might be.
But not before I tick off the entries on my gargantuan Goodreads’ TBR List first.
Read my other reviews:
17 thoughts on “3 over-hyped books (to me) with “high” Goodreads ratings…”
Girl on the train… really disappointing, and it was Goodread’s best thrileer I guess.
Ya it was more of a drag than a thriller.
I’m reading The Hate U Give right now and I’m really liking it so far, but I can see what you mean about reverse racism. I thought that black people were shot more by white cops than white people are, but I really need to do my research before accepting that as fact. I think I’m a little gullible at times and tend to just accept what I hear instead of researching further. This was a good reminder for me not to do that! I haven’t read the other two books yet and probably won’t now that I read your reviews haha.
Thank you for dropping by.
I’m not American (thus don’t know the ground realism there, except whatever International Media feeding us) and I’ve brown skin, yet this book came off such whiny and “playing the victim” to me.
And for the rest two, well, you won’t miss much if you don’t read them. 🙂
YES, YES, YES! I LOVE the review you quoted about “The Hate U Give”! It’s so frustrating to see reverse racism because it only makes the problem worse. If we want to be unified and destroy racism, we’ve got to stop focusing on skin color and start focusing on the actual injustices that happen- like unjust police brutality.
You’re so right. I’m a brown person and yet, the book comes off so whiny to me. The writing made me it worse.
Thank you for reading my post. 🙂
I honestly appreciate posts like this. It helps me know what to avoid – especially because I’m prone to fall into those “hype reads”!
You’re right. Sometimes, the “fawning” Goodreads reviews can be so misleading.
Thanks for dropping by. 🙂
I wasn’t impressed with ‘The Hate U Give’ either, everyone was shouting it’s praises and fawning over it and I had to force my way through it…
Ditto. Thank you for dropping by. 🙂
I felt the book “Girl Boss” that everyone obsessed over like 5 years ago was WAY overrated. I have heard good things about The Hate You Give so I’m a little sad to hear you didn’t think it was the best.
I also picked up the book after reading the 5-star Goodreads reviews but the “whiny” voice and the juvenile writing (and I believe, YA is more than that) let it down for me.
Haven’t read “Girl Boss” as motivational books are pissing me big-time, lately.
Thank you for dropping by. 🙂
Bad book reviews are just as good as glowing book reviews to me. I’m sorry, but I really didn’t like The Alchemist. Haha. It was a great theme but the actual story didn’t intrigue me. I know many people love that book, but I just was not a fan.
You are so right. I disliked “The Alchemist” downright and then proceeded to read two more books by Paulo Coelho. For some reasons, his preaching comes off as sham to me.
Thank you for dropping by. 🙂
Yes me too! That’s exactly how I felt, so I’m puzzled when others like it.
I am one of those people who gave The Hate U Give 5 stars – and I wasn’t expecting to like it. I will be honest, I think with the review that you quoted… it kind of misses the whole point of the book. While it’s true that white people are also shot by police officers, what this book was trying to point out was the fact that if this character had been white, he would not have been shot. I think the novel was trying to point out that while many say equality exists in America, in many ways and in many cases it does not. Just my two cents, but I thought it was a pretty enlightening read.
Thank you for your comment Becky. Why I disliked the book was that it hit close to home for me.
In my country as well, there is a clear distinction between “Them” and “Us”. And while I “supposedly” belong to “privileged” class yet I have to grind my arse for the basic needs. And without doing anything, I ( or the strata I belong) get vilified.
So I wrote this review (in a pissed-off state) ’cause I saw it first-hand the dark-side of this “otherfication”.
Thank you for dropping by and sorry for the late reply. 😦 Sometimes, real life hinders the pace of blogging consistently.