Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 2: Least Favourite Book

There are very few times I read a book and dislike it, and to be completely honest it is never a book I choose to read myself, it's either a uni allocated text or a present from a friend/family member. There are a few books I've begun and just can't finish, Heart of Darkness for one, but I usually try to fight my way through and at least finish it. I've found, thanks to uni and peer pressure that while Ian McEwan is well regarded as an author by everyone else, I am yet to find something of his I can get in to. I began Atonement and threw it against the wall when I was about half way through because I detested his story-telling that much, but as I didn't finish it I won't count it as my least favourite book, that honour goes to his novel The Cement Garden.

by Ian McEwan

Now I want to start off by saying I have no issue with the content of this book. I say this because normally when I say I dislike this novel people usually make that annoying squished up pretentious face and say "Oh it's OK, it's pretty heavy going, it isn't for anyone I guess." If done well family issues, incest, coming of age, death and all the other 'heavy' aspects of this novel are a real attraction for me, the psychology of the characters in novels like that just draw me in and affect me far greater than some happy go lucky character in another book. But I didn't find these themes well done in The Cement Garden. Maybe it was because it was his first book but I felt like while the bones were there (and could potentially be an interesting book) he was way out of his depth, and instead of an interesting and thought provoking story I had to sit through 144 pages of terrible, unpolished prose, half-done characters which was a complete waste of my time. I'm aware that I'm in the minority here, most people seem to worship at McEwan's feet but I feel like he's one of those authors that people rave about because everyone else does, because he's 'literary' and not liking him means you don't understand the 'complexities of the literary world' and perhaps they aren't quite being honest with their feelings of his work. Or maybe I'm projecting. Who knows, all I know is that this is my least favourite book.


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