Remember when we talked about loving a book other people hate? The absurdity! And yet here I am on the other side this week, rolling my eyes and sending annoying texts to friends over the injustice of poorly written stories about books so many other people loved.
I do feel guilty giving a lousy review. It feels like a betrayal; a writer saying another writer did a bad job. On the other hand, it’s probably important to be honest when talking about books and their real-life impact. It is not a good reflection on genuine opinion to sing and dance about everything one reads.
Dear wonderful, hard-working authors: Writing is hard. I’m sure there are those who really loved these two books.
(As a rule, never spoilers and I always read the book from start to finish).
If You’re Looking For: A predictable love story set in Paris
If You Like: The Vacationers, predictable love stories set in Paris
My Review: I sludged through this book with heavy sighing and excessive eye rolls. In short, it was monotonous, contrived, and weirdly irritating. Another story begging to be turned into a slow indie film or a major motion picture rom-com. One of those books that makes you appreciate the good beach reads. I hate to say hate so I’ll just say, “nah.” My time would have been better spent staring at the wall, dreaming of sandwiches. I only finished it so that it could finally be over.
Their Review: “Here we have the literary beach read — a book that pleases people who read two books a month and people who read two books a year. . . . The situation is timeworn and irresistible. The settings . . . are idyllic escapes, lushly drawn. . . . [Maum] is abundantly gifted — funny, open-hearted, adept at bringing global issues into the personal sphere . . . eventually creating that rare thing: a book for everyone.” -Washington Post
If You’re Looking For: Dysfunction junction, Hollywood screenplay appeal
If You Like: This Is Where I Leave You
My Review: If you’ve read Tropper’s other work, this book is basically more of the same but perhaps a bit worse. The characters are predictably flawed but “likeable” as their banter leads each other into the next snappy line. There are many moments when it felt like I was supposed to garner something meaningful, but instead it all sounded a bit rehearsed. Amazingly high ratings on Goodreads, but not a book I would recommend to a friend. I believe this is how my friend Elizabeth (and roughly half of the folks on Amazon) felt about his bestseller This Is Where I Leave You. I get it now (but still really enjoyed that story). In a word: disappointing.
Their Review: “Tropper’s characters are likably zany and fallible, and perhaps more important, funny. One Last Thing Before I Go is a poignant story about facing death and celebrating life, even when things seem well beyond repair.” – The Daily Beast