In which I talk about some books I won’t be finishing.
Hello everyone! I should say first that I really enjoy those rare occasions when I buy a book before I read it (for example, most recently, I Am the Messenger) because I can annotate while I’m reading it for the first time. It’s fun to go back later, when I know how it ends, and watch my tortured past self like “WHAT?!?! PLEASE TELL ME THIS ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN!” It’s like watching a movie with someone who hasn’t watched it before; I chuckle darkly and shove popcorn into my mouth. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to do this all the time, which is why I make use of the public library. Sometimes, that is really a good thing.
These are a couple of books I know I won’t finish. (Obviously there won’t be spoilers because I didn’t get far enough).
The Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig
I wanted to love this book, I really did. It was an intriguing premise, and I just don’t read imaginative books as often as I used to these days. I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction and slightly depressing contemporaries, so I thought this would be a nice bit of fantastical escapism.
Unfortunately, I was not loving it. My issue was the characters. The main character, whose name I can’t even remember off the top of my head (and I’m so lazy I’m not going to check) seemed like your very mediocre YA heroine. I was reading it like, “Haven’t I seen this gal before in something else? What was it? It’s on the tip of my tongue…hang on…She’s in a lot of things, I see her all the time…” Except this isn’t a movie with actors. It’s a book. I don’t want to recognise anyone. I want original characters, people! Original!
I would have totally read a book from Kashmir’s point of view, though. He was awesome.
But yeah. I made it to page 53 out of 443.
Highly Illogical Behavior, by John Corey Whaley
I really expected that I would like this book (and the cover is amazing!) My interest was piqued by the wording of the jacket: that Lisa was going to try to “fix” Solomon (it was in quotes there, too, otherwise I might have been warier). Approaching a person with the idea that you’re going to be able to fix them, especially when you’re not experienced at life yourself, is a pretty good recipe for learning a thing or two about humans.
I started reading, and I really liked Solomon. (Love his Star Trek obsession! Especially because when I read the title, I immediately thought of Spock, and I guess that wasn’t an accident.) I liked his parents too, at first, and how they were worried about him but were accepting and supportive.
But then, I got a teensy bit uncomfortable when his mom tried to lure him out with a cute girl. Hang on, I got lost there for a second, let’s recap this. He has been in the house for three years and two months, yes? And his parents are supposed to be really concerned, but understand him, yes? And this kid was actually having panic attacks at school, am I right? So this isn’t just a phase?
Okay. Glad I got this all straight. So, then, why would his understanding mother think that mentioning—mentioning—an attractive girl is going to suddenly get her agoraphobic son out of the house? He was amused, but I would be pretty insulted. Like, “How petty do you think I am? I mean, three years and two months—this isn’t a phase or something, mom.”
And I just…they never tried to get this kid professional help?! Not when he was having panic attacks all the time, not when he—what even was that, was he trying to drown himself in the fountain??? And not when he made the decision never to leave the house again?
All he was doing was living instead of dying. Some people get cancer. Some people get crazy. Nobody tries to take the chemo away.
STAYING INSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE ALL THE TIME IS THE CANCER! PROFESSIONAL HELP IS THE CHEMO, SILLY!
I’m sure the author doesn’t actually believe that, these are pretty much Solomon’s thoughts, and that’s fine, but I find his parents really irresponsible for just letting their son make the decision never to leave the house again without, I don’t know, at least taking him to a doctor!
And then his mom—gah. This part made me really mad.
The last time he listened was when his mom asked his dad if they were going to be “stuck with him forever.”
MAYBE NOT IF YOU GET THE KID SOME PSYCHIATRIC HELP FOR HIS PSYCHIATRIC CONDITION!!!!
This immediately made me think of the part in TFiOS when Hazel is really close to death and overhears her mother crying that she’s not going to be a mom anymore. That scene? Incredibly heart-breaking. This scene? Nope. And I’m sorry, I know you’re concerned that your son is never going to leave the house and live his life, but that’s just a jerky way to word it. Not cool, Solomon’s mom. Not cool. I think Hazel’s mom should have a little chat with her.
But I was going to keep reading, and then the stupidest of things made me stop. Should I tell you guys? I’m thinking I don’t want to tell you guys.
First, I should explain that I already hated the tone of the writing in this book. I don’t know that I could read a whole book written that way. And then I got to page 9 and read this:
…his tree-bark brown hair parted in a way that was particularly appealing to Lisa.
I don’t know what comes next. I closed the book. I couldn’t take it anymore. I cannot do hair described as tree-bark brown, or girls who are attracted to the way a guy parts his hair. I’m sorry. Cannot.
So yeah. Made it to the very top of page 9, out of 249.
Anyway, Apologies for Rantiness…
As you can see, there’s not always a really good reason for me to not finish a book. Sometimes all it takes is tree-bark brown hair, described in a way that was particularly UN-appealing to Chloe. I’m actually kind of ashamed of myself after typing out those reasons, but not ashamed enough to finish those books.
And thank goodness for libraries, am I right! Without them, I’d either have these on my shelf making me feel guilty, or have forced myself to finish them. I feel like I try more books as a result of having a really good public library that I can make use of. There’s no risk involved, so why not try it?
Sad thing is, I’m going to be kicked out of the library next time I go in. I just know it. I’ve been waiting for it to happen for a while now. Because my current fine is $12.74. I’m so sorry, librarians. I promise to pay it one day, I’m just really lazy and paying fines is a really complicated process when it shouldn’t be.
Okay, well, that’s all for today! What books have you decided not to finish recently? Additionally, if you’ve read either of these books, I’d like to hear your thoughts, even if your thoughts are: “CHLOE YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT THAT WAS MY FAVOURITE BOOK EVER!!!”
Oh, and I didn’t take the time to mention it before, but thank you guys so, so, so much for your positive responses to that little snippet of my novel I shared with you. It really made me so happy and encouraged.
My mom was going through pictures the other day, and so I’m going to leave you of this picture of me, proud author of that sure-to-be-a-classic, The Brown Horse!
Have a lovely day!