Over at The Morning News, Matthew Baldwin has gathered up some of his favorite one-star reviews for classic novels on Amazon. My top three, from among his selections:
Lolita: “1) I’m bored. 2) He uses too many allusions to other novels, so that if you’re not well read, this book makes no sense. 3) Most American readers are not fluent in French, so to have conversations or interjections in French with no translation is plain dumb. 4) Did I mention I was bored? 5) As with another reviewer, I agree, he uses a lot of huge words that just slow a person down. And it’s not for theatrics either, it’s just huge words mid-sentence when describing something simple. Nothing in the sense of imagery is gained. 6) Also, to sum it up, it’s a story about a pedophile.”
The Sound and the Fury: “This book is like an ungrateful girlfriend. You do your best to understand her and get nothing back in return.”
The Sun Also Rises: “Here’s the first half of the book: ‘We had dinner and a few drinks. We went to a cafe and talked and had some drinks. We ate dinner and had a few drinks. Dinner. Drinks. More dinner. More drinks. We took a cab here (or there) in Paris and had some drinks, and maybe we danced and flirted and talked sh*t about somebody. More dinner. More drinks. I love you, I hate you, maybe you should come up to my room, no you can’t’… I flipped through the second half of the book a day or two later and saw the words ‘dinner’ and ‘drinks’ on nearly every page and figured it wasn’t worth the risk.”
That’s not to say that all the reviews are wrong, necessarily – I, for one, happen to agree with the reviewer who wrote that On the Road is "trite, saccharine and false. But that’s just me. Related: Is online literary culture too nice?
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