Laughter and books make life a little easier

Day 11 – A book you hated


This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.


Well, that is easy enough, I suppose. Or is it really? Am I not going to start feeling unfair and unjust again towards any book that I may to choose to speak about? Am I really going to be able to rationally say why I hate a book or will it turn out to be something so nebulous that you could never believe it? Oh well, I’ll just have to give it a try. But first, I guess I have to find out what the difference is between disliking a book and hating it.

To dislike a book is something not nearly as fiery as hating it. Disliking is merely something that bothers you, that makes you want not to read any more of this book. Well, that is what it is like for me. But to hate a book is something so much stronger: you hate the book and all offspring it may possibly have and on top of that you hate the author and don’t want anything to do with him or her every again. Yes, I’ve met a few books like those over the years. However there have been few that I hated as much as Holy Fools by Joanne Harris.

I started off reading Harris’s Runemarks, which I thought was very good and then I decided to read some of her other books. It was a mistake. I should just have stuck to that one. I hated every bit of Holy Fools, though I did finish it. There are some things that I can accept in a book and there are some things that would bother me so much up to the point that I would not be able to stand it any longer. One of these things is a biased narrator. That is in a third-person narrator, of course. If it is a first-person narrator, then it is probably a given that he or she would be biased.

Now I have to take a little side road first before I can go any further, to explain what I felt towards this author. I do not have a problem if people have something against religion. I do not have a problem with the religion or lack thereof of an author. It does not bother me, though it can be interesting and it does not influence me choice of reading material. Anyway, this is usually something you only find out once you have at least bought the book and started it. Okay, now it is established that I don’t have an issue with the religions of others. However, as I was reading Holy Fools, I was getting the idea that this author had something against Christianity. Well, I could accept that. Or perhaps the issue was only against the Church. I don’t see any problems there either. It’s your opinion and your ideas and you are welcome to have them. I know that I’m not the only one that got this idea, because I often see if pop up in reviews. I experienced this same voice when I read Harris’s Gentlemen and Players, so I know it could not entirely be my imagination.

The problem that I had with this was the terribly biased voice that came through in the narrator. I didn’t like that. Have biased characters all you like and criticise all you like, but keep the narrator as the mediating voice. Once the opinions and subjectiveness starts entering the narration, you get unreliable narration. Well, that could be a good literary technique, but not in this case. Holy Fools read to me like a rant of the author than a story. I would have liked to see more diversification of characters, beyond a priest that seduces a bunch of nuns. I would have liked to see some breadth of opinion, instead of the author trying to force me into an opinion.


Seeing that I also read Gentlemen and Players and also disliked (but not hated) that, I think I’ve had enough of Harris. I don’t think I will be reading the apparently-wonderful Chocolat. I found Gentlemen and Players annoying, boring and with the same overpowering, biased narrator. This book is supposed to be suspenseful and with an amazing twist at the end, but I didn’t experience that. I could predict it all the way through and at the end I was right on all counts except one. That is not a satisfactory read. Perhaps I’ve read too many murder mysteries. 😉


That is all. 😛

Tomorrow’s post is about a book that I used to love but don’t anymore.


2 responses

  1. I agree with you, here. I read some fantastic vampire novels by Scott Westerfeld (author of some of my favorite and most inspiring futuristic sci-fi novels ever) and though he was definitely against Christianity in a lot of the book, (narrative, not just character bias) there was enough plot, action, and development for it not to overpower the enjoyment of the story itself. I was a bit bothered, just because his bias did leak into the narrative and I was like, “Okay, sir, that is simply not fair” but it wasn’t a rant or anything. And I quite liked them! 🙂 And I leak enough Christian ethics and moral dilemmas into my own stories so I have to be careful and not turn hypocrite. 😉

    July 15, 2012 at 04:46

    • Yes, I totally feel the same! I have nothing against character bias, but narrative tends to bother me a bit. In this specific book, coupled with some definite anti-Christianity (especially anti-Catholic) sentiments and themes expressed it just became so irksome that I ended up hating the book.
      Hehe, me too! 😉

      July 20, 2012 at 23:57

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