I have been disappointed a few times in the past when I’ve jumped onto a wave of book hype. A story can be life changing and enlightening to some, but utterly baffling or boring to others. Certain books earn their hype through originality, others gain it through controversy and many books become popular because of the sheer amount of publicity behind them.
A few titles that have disappointed me over the years include The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Fallen by Lauren Kate and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (although in retrospect, I appreciate Gatsby much more, I just didn’t enjoy it from an entertainment point of view). However, none of these are going to be the book I am talking about today. I have chosen two books in particular to focus on, one of which I think will shock a lot of people! :S
My first, no doubt very controversial choice is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
I can just hear the gasps all over the internet!
“But Becky, HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE PRIDE AND PREJUDICE?!!?!?”
Well, before people start setting fire to my blog page let me state straight away that I didn’t dislike Pride and Prejudice, in fact, I gave it four stars when I reviewed it way back when (although it only just about reached a four). It has a lot of social commentary, clever wit and Elizabeth is a smart, impressive protagonist considering the time period the novel was written in. I also liked that she grew as a character. Yet even taking all this into account I can’t help but feel it is overrated. It’s a good novel, but I don’t understand the utter devotion and obsession people have around it.
You see, I don’t feel passionately about this novel, not the way that others do. I’m not sure why but it never hit me with a ‘wow’ or a ‘whoa’ and on the whole I found it forgettable. When I read it I found myself feeling a little bored, restless and underwhelmed. Not much happens throughout the course of the novel and at the end of the day it’s pretty much a well written romance with a little extra depth. I also feel after reading several more classics since, that although there was some great social commentary in Pride and Prejudice, it feels positively lightweight in comparison to something like Oscar Wilde. I’m sure at the time it seemed groundbreaking, but I’m not sure this novel has withstood the test of time for me.
I guess part of my issue was that I didn’t find Mr Darcy that swoon worthy either, I much preferred Mr Knightly from Jane Austen’s, Emma. 😉 In fact, I preferred her book Emma, period! I felt like there was a lot more to it. 🙂
I guess what I’m trying to say it that Pride and Prejudice was good, but it didn’t capture me in the way Wuthering Heights or Great Expectations did, and I tried really hard to get myself excited about it but the end result was a resounding meh. I’m sorry! :S
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My second choice of overrated book is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, or the entire Millennium series really. Again this is a case where I didn’t dislike the books as a whole, I just felt they were so amped up to an unnecessary extent.
Sure, Lisbeth Salander the antisocial, antiestablishment skilled hacker and Blomkvist the superhero journalist who seeks justice are intriguing characters, and yes, Larsson weaves some well thought out conspiracy theories, but it amazes me how this series became such a world wide sensational bestseller. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo had the most painful first few chapters I think I have ever read, to the point where I almost gave up altogether. The books were filled with lots of irrelevant details that slowed the down the plot pace, which with a little tweaking could have improved the books tremendously. I fully admit that I don’t read a lot of thrillers, but drawing from the ones I have read, I didn’t feel this series added anything particularly unique or special and I can’t help but wonder, was half the reason they became so popular because of the story behind them? The author’s death before their publication along with word and mouth sure made for a good source of publicity. That probably sounds horrible, but I can’t help wondering…
Overall I enjoyed the Millennium Trilogy, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to others unless they were serious fans of the crime/thriller genres. Oh, and I finished the last book in the series around two weeks ago, so expect a review of that coming your way soon! (Soon may be too optimistic, how do I fit in reviews amongst these daily posts?!)
Which books have you read in the past that you felt were overrated? What do you think of my choices? You don’t have to agree! 🙂
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Pride and Prejudice: My own.
The Millennium Trilogy Books: http://intenseopinions.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/the-millennium-trilogy-series/