In the last week I picked up a bestselling book from an author I’ve never read. It had 500+ reviews, most of which were five star. I loved the first chapter, managed to overlook some of the run on sentences, and settled in for a delightful read.
At the 16% mark I deleted the book from my Kindle.
I have to tell you up front that I get emotional about books. I love reading. I love immersing myself in another world. But when an author disappoints me, it’s a real disappointment.
Why was I disappointed?
- The book had 600+ pages. About twice as long as it “should” have been. The strangest scenes were played out while important stuff was glossed over. For example, the heroine gets a creepy feeling about a guy. In the next chapter she mentions that she’d been sharing his bed for a week – but not having sex. Whoa. Wait. Rewind. How did THAT happen? Why? When? I must have read that page five times trying to figure out what happened. Never did. But endless similar scenes were featured when they didn’t have to be.
- The heroine doesn’t eat much, swims a lot, works a lot, then can’t figure out how her clothes are “loose”. Can we say Too Stupid To Live?
- The hero – and I use the word loosely – is the most handsome creature alive. He says some truly hateful things that would have remained with me for the rest of my life, let alone be able to brush off. I don’t like abusive relationships, and I was reading about an abusive relationship in the making – sans the actual beating. For now. Note to any author: A good looking guy is not automatically a hero. When he opens his mouth he has to have some good things to say.
- I know what the word f**k means. I’ve used it on occasion. I don’t have to read it – especially in the context of a love scene. If the guy can only use that word – and considers it foreplay – he’s a gorilla, not the hero of the piece.
- Editing. I know only too well how certain platforms can churn up a manuscript. For example, Kindle has issues with Tapestry. The book is perfect except that about a dozen apostrophes are missing. I correct the manuscript, re-submit it, it’s okay and voila! A month later the apostrophes are missing again. Neither the Kindle people nor my “people” can figure out what happens. However, this is not the type of editing I’m talking about. Run-on sentences, sentences that just don’t make sense, endless one word sentences – all wear on a reader. Correction: they wear on this reader.
All of this I gleaned by the 16% mark. I don’t think the book would have improved for me. In fact, I started rolling my eyes just a little at around the 12% mark, but the sleeping in the creepy guy’s bed out of the blue just buffaloed me. When the heroine starts out as one person and changes mid-stream, you lose me. I understand all about growing as a character but this was a total shedding of skin. The butterfly turned back into a caterpillar.
I seem to be a minority in having problems with the hero and the change in the heroine. It’s not the first time and it probably won’t be the last. I wonder if it’s because I’m a writer. Or if it’s because I’m a Southern Belle. I don’t know, but I suspect some of each is true.
How about you? Anything in a book really push your buttons? Ever feel like you were the only person to dislike a book?