I got one and a half cds out of six listened to, took a break, and then spent a solid week avoiding going back to it. I listened to five or six episodes of The Lost Cat podcast, a couple of In Our Time, some Fresh Air, about an hour of James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain, and a couple shows on the CBC, and every time, I thought, "Oh, I should go back to that Saunders book," I shook my head and decided I needed to wash my hair.
This should be everything I want in a book: ghosts, Abraham Lincoln, Man Booker Prize winners, but in the end it just came off as unbearably pretentious.
There are entire chapters of one to two sentence primary source quotes describing the setting, one after the other, and okay, clearly it's a terribly clever stylistic choice, or something (I don't really get litfic a lot of the time), but it's hard to avoid the aura of "Hey, I did all this research let me show it to you!" without having done the work of actually integrating it.
The non-interminable quote chapters were... fine? I guess. It's mostly a bunch of ghost who for various reasons have refused to move on hanging out and watching Lincoln completely fail to deal with his dead kid. Apparently Lincoln's failure to deal is an epic amount of emotion never seen in a cemetery before. Which seems unlikely, but I guess Lincoln's just that much of a special snowflake! Even in mourning was he extraordinary.
There's not that much to say about the ghosts. One's an old dude who won't admit that he died because he was about to finally get laid. He keeps making poop jokes. One's an anachronistic Whitman joke who killed himself. One perpetually sexually assaults a female ghost. None of them had much of interest to add.
Maybe I quit too early, but I just feel like a graveyard full of ghosts haunting Abraham Lincoln should have a bit more going on. Anyway, life is too short.
I'm currently reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
It is a buddy read I am doing with a friend I met through Booktube. We now chat over at Goodreads and do buddy reads often.
Our last buddy read was The Walled City by Ryan Graudin. We mutually decided to DNF that book, because we were both not liking it for various reason!
So... She LOVES The Night Circus. She's read it like 2 times already. I know we all have different tastes and opinions and that is completely fine. I just feel bad DNFing a buddy read, especially when it is a book my buddy loves.
I feel all alone in a sea of people who are gushing about this book. I'm 150 pages into it and not enjoying myself. I love the setting and the first couple chapters were really interesting. The first bad experience I got which put a bad taste in my mouth is how Celia is treated by her father.
Also, I guess... I'm bored.
Do you buddy read? Do you DNF? Will you DNF a buddy read?
Maybe I should set the book aside and try it another day or maybe this one is truly not for me.
Possibly one of the worst books I've read from the VC Andrews ghost writer. 22% in and the thought of anymore makes me want to cringe. It's about identical twins. All I'm getting is how identical and how special they are. And I'm fed up already. The mother is an overbearing bitch who wants her super speshul twins to be identical in every way down to thoughts. She's not allowing them to play with other children because they might disrupt the twin's special identicalness. It's the same thing over and over and over. It's ridiculous and I can't stomach any more of this book.
Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Threshold, Pocket Books for the chance to view the title.
So my reasons for DNFing this book the first time were valid; it was not just because of my reading mood or some other factor. This time I wasn't even enjoying the book at all. The first time reading it, I liked the first several chapters and then it started to get boring.
This time, everything was boring and annoying. I DO like Maureen Johnson, but this book does not do it for me. The relationship between Avery and Mel does not feel authentic or even written well at all, whether this is own voices or not. Not only that, their romance and Nina's romance with Steve felt so sudden and on the verge of being instalove.
Not one of the three girls were likeable. Nina was pretty mean about how she thought of other girls, especially her roommate. The girls called people by mean nick names like "Strange so and so" and thought badly of them. There was even a joke about someone they know being a retard. Nina wished her roommate had been taken to a mental hospital. When she first meets Steve, all she cares about is that he's hot. She calls him "crunchy" as in a hippie sort of way, but since he was hot, she could over look that.
I know the word "problematic" is being used a lot in the book community and sometimes I think it gets thrown around all willy nilly, but this book did strike me as problematic in ways. If I were more elegant in explaining how I feel, I could probably go on about the small little things that bugged me.
So to sum up in a not so elegant way, what bugged me: Girl hate (girls hating other girls), unrealistic relationships, instalove, cliche, super cheesy, mean girls, mean/cruel terms being used about other people, Nina's superficial thoughts about Steve, Nina's mean thoughts about her roommate (yes, I know her roommate was unusual, but still...)
Maybe the story gets better? Maybe the characters grow? I don't think I will ever know, because I can't force myself past the first 115 pages for a third time.
*I DNF'd this book a while ago, but wanted to give it another chance, because I enjoyed Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes duology and hoped I would like this the second time around.*
Other Maureen Johnson Books:
13 Little Blue Envelopes (3.5/5 stars)
The Last Little Blue Envelope (3.5/5 stars)
Let it Snow (Her story was The Jubilee Express. 3.5/5 stars - The book over all was 2/5 stars)