Every once in a while I’ll come across a book that just transcends bad. Whether I finish it or stop at some point, it’s still managed to sink its tentacles in and no matter how much bleach I pour into my ear the pain just won’t stop. These books, while they may not be unreadable, for me they certainly can’t be unread. I put them down, at whatever part I happen to land on, and think “Well, that’s time I’ll never get back.” Or I’ll come across a part that my brain doesn’t properly process as horrible until minutes later and then it hits and I’m left scratching at my eyes except the image is in my brain. No matter how blind I make myself, I can still see.
We’ve all had these moments with something, whether it be a stupid question (What’s a Fig Newton made out of?) to a terrible movie (Beerfest) or your book du jour, there have been things that rob you of time and sanity and never give it back. Bastards. Here I’d just like to highlight a few of the titles that, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t unread and it’s slowly eating my soul.
Why rehash the pain? Sometimes it helps to talk about it. Or so they tell me in therapy.
Written by the seventeen-year-old reincarnation of Jerry Falwell, or perhaps just a distant relative of Fred Phelps, HALO is chock-full of self-aggrandizing, moralizing, women-shitting talking-at that gelds angels as they traipse through fields of flowery prose sprinkled with hypocritical blasphemy of the highest order. For the mere 100 pages that I read I was lectured at by a WHITE (emphasis on white because that’s all angels can be, white, and the community in so desperate need of saving, white and rich) televangelist with wings ready, willing and able to shit on every fallacy she found in those around her while at the same time forfeiting all she stood for for a studly rugby player with turquoise eyes. Do as I say, not as I do, as it were. I might as well get some dining etiquette from Jeffrey Dahmer for all angel Bethany’s lessons are worth.
WITHER by Lauren DeStefano
Things would have been okay had the world been adequately built. Statutory rape, Stockholm syndrome, the functionality of the disease would all have been fine if the world were okay. Unfortunately it wasn’t. In fact it was such a massive failure that a kindergartner playing darts could have hit better points than what DeStefano made trying to explain, well, anything. Proof positive that beautiful words alone does not a book make nor fill in plot holes that could be seen from space. Nor make Rhine any less of an asshole than what she was. Of course it’s okay to push off the rapist and have him go screw the thirteen-year-old. Rhine is far more important, as is her hymen, than the likes of the little slut that actually LIKES it. There was so much potential and one of the things that kept me reading was the hope that it would all come together. It didn’t. In fact it fell even further apart leaving everything of worth strewn about and unexplained but sooper speshul Rhine got her token plot and love triangle and got to ride the wave of dystopias out there. So surf’s up, I guess.
And a huge fucking thanks for sending my brain into a lobotomized tizzy trying to figure out how the ice caps were vaporized yet Manhattan and Florida still existed. Let me guess, we were being lied to all along and thus all half-assed world-building efforts better made by a one-armed paraplegic with Tinker Toys can be lazily explained with a brush under the rug instead of a revisit to writing class.
This is the one author that I can honestly say whose integrity as a human being I can question (except for maybe Adnoretto above but at least she has youth as an excuse, barely) based on the books she’s written. Mary Sues, romantic stalkers, pedophilia, deus ex machina, Edward eating Bella’s baby out of her uterus, there couldn’t have been more things wrong with this (or any of the other) book if SMeyer tried. Unless maybe if they were Nazis. That might have pushed it all over the edge. Pure, unadulterated filth on how to enter into an abusive relationship and fuck a baby, the two not necessarily mutually exclusive. Yes, as a result of these books I question SMeyer’s ability to raise her own children, what moral plane she’s actually existing on and why she insists on equating abuse as love. As a reviewer I always try to disassociate the author from the work but here it’s too pervasive not to. Not to mention, if I haven’t already, Edward eating out Bella from the inside and Jacob wanting to bang sweet baby ass. Where does one have to be mentally, physically, or both, to think these things as anything other than prison fodder with a pit stop on the sex offender’s list?
So, what books do you so desperately wish you could unread?