Sunday, 6 May 2018

3 Books I Didn't Love

valley of the dolls, sherlock holmes the valley of fear, the virgin suicides, books I didn't love

I've spent a lot of time on books I haven't enjoyed, and I often do so because I hate the idea of leaving something unfinished. I only managed to get through one of the books on this list, and gave up half way through the other two because they weren't able to keep my interest. Often times, I tend to dislike books for similar reasons - they feel dated; they feel impersonal; I get bored of the style of writing. More often than not I feel it's the writing rather than the idea/events of the book, but that's not always the case.

In this post I'll be sharing just a couple of those novels that I couldn't quite warm to.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE VALLEY OF FEAR - SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

I hate to include this book on a list of ones that didn't work out, and I hate admitting that I couldn't finish it. I have thoroughly enjoyed every other Sherlock Holmes novel I've read, but this one fell short. I managed to read the first half and enjoy it well enough, where Watson is discussing the case involving Sherlock, but once the protagonist switches over in the second half of the novel, I found myself growing bored and uninterested to the point that I had to call it quits because I really struggled to get through it. I didn't really have any interest in these other characters, despite whatever they brought to the plot line being necessary, and I didn't care for what was going on by that point. It's a real shame because I'm a big fan of the SH series otherwise, but this one just didn't work for me.

THE VIRGIN SUICIDES - JEFFREY EUGENIDES

An often celebrated novel and movie, The Virgin Suicides just wasn't for me. I watched the movie first, since it was one of those 'cult classics' that is often talked about, but found myself feeling quite unimpressed. Knowing the book was probably better, as it usually is in most cases, I picked it up secondhand and still found myself unimpressed. I don't remember much of it now, as I read it around five years ago, but it was definitely a book I struggled to make it through, although I did this time plough right on through to the end. 

I think the thing I really didn't like about the book was how there was no real answers to anything. I hated the outsider perspective and I hated that the whole thing was left like a loose thread. For me, if there is no conclusion, no satisfactory answers to the questions left at the end of a book, then I really fail to understand the point in it. I'm a bit black-and-white that way, but I found myself wondering what the point in the book was if it wasn't giving me answers to the questions I wanted to know.

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS - JACQUELINE SUSANN

The third and final book on the list is one that I tried very hard to get into, but eventually gave up, although I did make it about halfway through the whole thing. I was inspired to read this a few years ago upon learning that 'Valley of the Dolls' wasn't just a song by Marina & The Diamonds, and that the queen of pop herself had actually written it after watching the movie. Deciding to save myself the hassle of an unimpressive film, I cut out the middle man and skipped straight to the book. What I found was, what I felt, incredibly morbid themes and miserable characters set into a 60's backdrop - i.e. one of my least favourite eras for anything, of all time -, although I believe it's told over several decades, starting in the 40's. The characters were all, in my opinion, extremely unlikeable and highly naive, suggesting that the women were mindless and swept up in the glamorous front of Hollywood and Broadway with no real backbones. Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but this was how I felt upon reading it, and why I gave the book up halfway through.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

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