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: