Warning: the post goes on forever.
In 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, she receives an edited copy of a book she requested. Expecting an actual unaltered manuscript, she was understandably agitated with the copy she received.
"WHAT KIND OF PEPYS' DIARY DO YOU CALL THIS?
this is not pepys' diary. this is some busybody editor's miserable collection of EXCERPTS from pepys' diary may he rot.
i could just spit.
i enclose two limp singles, i will make do with this thing till you find me a real Pepys. THEN i will rip up this ersatz book, page by page, AND WRAP THINGS IN IT."
And while I have never intentionally maimed a book, I have on many occasions, wanted to.
Now before you get all huffity and blackball me for saying something negative about a book. Remember: this book blogger behaves badly and if you can truly say that you've never been moved to angry fits and convulsions by a book, then I question whether or not you've been moved to bouts of joy and elation because of one either.
I'd like to think that any author worth his/her weight would view a passionately negative review in much the same light as a passionately positive one. Either way, their unique creation has moved a human being to experience extreme emotion and for that they should be IMMENSELY proud of themselves.
It's no secret that I loathe will all the loathing that one can possess, Breaking Dawn and subsequently hate the series that I once loved, because of it. I hate it whole heartedly, actively and resolutely. I will hate it forever. I wish it was never written.
I abhor the existence of a little book I once got suckered into reading by the name of She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. It was my second attempt to read something from Oprah's book club, which only served to remind me that I don't like books written about sniveling, whiny, weaklings who either get pregnant, fall down a well or some other form of Lifetime subject matter. It's about a miserable, self-loathing cow who panders along for a zillion pages about just what a miserable, self-loathing cow she is. She makes etch-e-sketch art, has a brief romance complete with anal sex and then gets married. That's about the long and the short of it. It's suppose to be impressive because a man was attempting to write a book from a woman's point of view and I guffawed at this because I don't know any miserable, self-loathing cows- unless you count the ones about the take up residence in the meat section of your local grocery store. Then I got really angry because I thought "THIS!? This is what women sound like to you?!?" I wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with the character in the book. There was nothing likable or redeemable about her!! She was grotesque and had the most repugnant personality. Piss on you, Oprah's-Book-Club-Author-Man!
Since then I've read some mediocre books. They didn't move me in any way shape or form and I forgot about them as soon as I closed them. This type of book happens a lot and maybe, in a way, that makes them worse than a really, really awful book because in the end, you've wasted all that time and you don't feel any emotional response to the story at all and you probably just forget all about them. I remember the books I hate.
Anyway. I still own my copy of Breaking Dawn only because it completes a set and I'm shallow and they look nice. She's Come Undone went to the trade bookstore many many moons ago and I'm happy that it doesn't live amongst my lovelies on the shelves.
But recently....I threw a book so hard against the wall that I worried about my Cinncinnatian Hotel Nichols Taupe paint. Then I picked it up and threw it in the trash. I wanted to rip it to shreds but at the time I was really just TOO ANGRY to get a good grip on it.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Published July 14th 2009 by Candlewick Press
More at: Goodreads
The book was The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Let me begin with a disclosure that some may feel renders all I have to say here null and void, though I will provide an explanation if you read on: I did not finish this book. It has taken me over a year of book blogging to come to grips with the fact that some books are simply unfinishable but even still I continue to feel a void in things whenever I abandon a book. I still chide myself for not completing something and in some instances, even though I won't revisit the story, I continue to be plagued with the "what if..." of the story. Not in this case. I feel no remorse for having abandoned this book, only regret for having gone as far as I did with it.
Our story begins with the boy Todd, who nearing his 13th birthday is on the verge of becoming a man. In the town of Prentiss, a smallish establishment of some 100 or so odd men, becoming a man is something ominous and kept very secret. In a place where all thoughts can be heard by all men, the fact that something can remain hidden makes it all the more foreboding. Todd is the last boy. The last boy in a post-apocalyptic world where a germ known as "Noise" infected all the men and killed all the women. The infected remaining men are plagued with the ability to hear every thought of every man and creature around them. A constant buzzing, an incessant hammering of the infinitesimal number of unvoiced thoughts, all day, all night, even in sleep. No quiet. No solitude. No peace.
When the boy Todd one day stumbles upon an unexpected and to him who has never experienced one, an unexplainable and sudden absence of sound hidden in the swamp, it takes only a moment for his own Noise to scream "Quiet" to those around him. Suddenly the authorities want him for questioning and for something...else. Todd is forced to flee the town and runs back into the swamp in search of the "Quiet." It's human, but something he has never seen before, only heard about in older men's Noise. It's something that isn't suppose to exist.
I was instantly sucked into this story from word one.
The writing is so in tune with the story- a frantic, wild assault on the senses that pushes you to read at lightening speeds. Remember, Todd can hear EVERYTHING and the reader hears it as he does, leaving you panicked and anxious and scared! It's perfect. Todd is running from so many things, most of which he isn't even aware of. The town of Prentiss is out to get him for something and he has no idea why. He heard the "Quiet" but what did that do? He runs for an unexplained reason, straight into a world he was taught no longer existed. A new world with people who have a different memory of what happened with the Noise germ. I was hooked.
But not on the main character. Todd is a detestable wretch of a boy- spineless, cowardly and just plain stupid.I never once liked him. He was mean to his dog, the only good creature in this absolutely horrible world. But I kept on reading because it's all just so intense! I kept reading while this young, stupid child, cussed and complained and cowered. I kept reading while adults, senselessly and continuously beat the hell out of him. I kept reading even when a grown man alluded to raping a little girl. I kept reading as an animal was repeatedly tortured. I kept reading until I had ENOUGH and I took that GOD AWFUL PIECE OF SHIT and I threw it against the wall. Then I got up and I put in in the trash. AND THEN- I cried and cried and cried. I cried great big noisy crocodile tears. I was absolutely devastated. That sick bastard killed the dog. Killed the only creature in the story who was actively doing something, the only one I felt anything for. And apparently, judging by the length of this post, I felt a lot.
I hate this book. I hate it with all the hate I can muster. I hate it for taking a thrill ride of a story, going nowhere with it and then doing everything deplorable imaginable. I'm expending time and energy despising this book.
The writing is really something to experience though- if you are a heartless reader who likes fiction a bit on the sadistic side- have at it. If you possess ANY SOUL AT ALL, skip it. In fact, this book makes bunnies cry:
P.S. Yesss, I took the copy out of the trash, it was still clean, dry and intact and I donated it. I'm a good girl.