I've been avoiding talking about some books that have disappointed me in different ways and degrees. So instead of dedicating a full review to each of them I'll just briefly share why I wasn't so impressed like I had expected (damn those expectations!).
I'll start with the biggest disappointment which is The Owl Service by Alan Garner. In theory, it hit all the right notes:
- Carnegie Medal winner
- Use of Welsh mythology
- Reputation for being a haunting, but lyrical story.
Instead it failed to grip me completely. I kept reading, waiting to be charmed at some point, but it never happened. I feel like I must have missed something, and it bugs me. What I remember instead is a storytelling that was disjointed and confusing. For example the main characters' behaviour was puzzling. Many strange things happen, but instead of them trying to talk about it and understand what is happening straight away, they don't seem immediately concerned.
For this, and for many other reasons, most of what happened was lost on me, until I did some research on line to find answers to my questions.
There was never a moment when I felt really close to the characters, and that was a big factor. And the ending left more questions than answers.
So, in conclusion, it was a frustrating read. I so wished I understood it more, because I feel like I missed out on something special.
For a proper reviews on in and a complete different opinion, read Nymeth's. She obviously saw something in it that I didn't.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was a different kind of disappointment. I didn't dislike it. I thought it was alright. Just alright, that's the problem. After all the magnificent reviews and feedbacks and sales etc...I thought I was in for an unforgettable read. I was sucked into it pretty quickly. I really liked the first third of the book, maybe half. Then it started to decline. I wasn't gripped or fascinated anymore. At times, I was even a bit annoyed at how blatantly dramatic it was.
I have to admit that it gave me a greater understanding of life in Afghanistan before and after the Talibans had taken power and I feel more emotionally connected with the Afghan people's oppression now. I loved being wrapped up in this country's scents, flavours and sounds. But I failed to connect with the narrator, probably because I never forgave him for what he did as a child. I know it's a story about redemption, about how hard it is for the narrator to even begin to forgive himself. But I guess he could have become a saint after and I still wouldn't have forgiven him...so, maybe it's my fault again.
For full reviews and different views see here:
Maw Books Blog
The third and final disappointment is of a different kind altogether. It's a stylistic disappointment toward what announced itself to be an astoundingly beautiful piece of writing: The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Shortisted for the Booker Prize. Recent winner of the Costa Book of the Year. It has being received amazingly well by the press and the public. So how come I didn't like it?
Because I thought the writing was pompous, overly metaphorical, and, after a while, tedious, in every sense of the word. There were some very beautiful parts, but the overall feeling was of heaviness, and (I don't like being so harsh but it has to be said) boredom. I read it all, because I was told there was some sort of twist, of big surprise. But again I was disappointed. I had consider the possibility of that twist already, which is never good.
I'm not saying this is utter rubbish. I know plenty of people who are completely enthralled by this kind of writing. I'm just not one of them.
Please, feel free to agree or disagree with me and give me the link to your review. I'm happy to show different sides of the story!