Ever have that experience where EVERYONE YOU KNOW seems to love a book, and you figure, okay, it’s got to be decent at least, I’ll give it a read. And then you just… really don’t like it?
I read two memoirs recently, memoirs that were rather highly acclaimed aroundabouts, and both times, I was pretty darned disappointed. I’ve never had a particular affinity for memoirs, one way or another, but awhile back I read, and loved to pieces, the wonderful Queen of the Road by the amazing Doreen Orion. So I thought, hey, maybe it’s not just a fluke, and memoirs/personal accounts are great reads in general. But that hasn’t been my experience since.
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Everyone read it. Everyone loved it. Julia Roberts made a movie, which some people loved and some people hated, but that always happens with a book-to-movie transfer. I expected to at least enjoy the book to some degree, but I can’t say that I did. The eating part was okay, but too cluttered with waaayyyy depressing divorce stuff. The praying part was not, shall we say, my cup of tea. And the love? Too short. Too undetailed. I mean, after all that traumatic, depressing eating (if you’re going to binge eat, for crying out loud, enjoy it a little more, and please describe the cheesy goodness so I can experience it vicariously) and then the tedious praying, I felt like I deserved some more specifics on the hookups.
For some reason, I then continued my foray into this genre with Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, by Rhoda Janzen. I know all about Mennonites, because of the genealogy work I did in my last job. My volunteer Barb transcribed a set of Mennonite letters for me, over the course of several months; by the end she was threatening to reach back through time and shake the living daylights out of some Mennonites, or at least kidnap them and get them drunk on tequila. But that’s a different story, and a more interesting one than Ms. Janzen told, to be frank. Also written post-messy divorce (I sense a memoir theme), there was a little about Mennonite food (grossy sounding), some funny bits about her mother, dating highlights, and very little point to a rather rambling account of… well, nothing, really, other than a newly-divorced woman staying with her parents for a bit. Pointless.
Shrug. I’ll probably skip memoirs for a bit, no matter how highly recommended.
What about you? Any highly recommended yet big disappointments in your recent reading history?