From time to time, we all encounter a book we just didn’t like. I usually like most of the books I read, and some I even love. So when I read a book that I don’t like, I always feel very disappointed, especially if the book was hyped. If I don’t like a book, I tend to donate it. Since I didn’t donate these two books yet, I thought I would talk about what I didn’t like.
The first book I’ll be talking about is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. This book has been so hyped over the past year, that I just had to buy it to see what it was all about. When I bought it, I really didn’t have too much knowledge about the novel except that it was a romance, and one of the characters was disabled. After purchasing the novel, the movie was about to be released in theatres in a few months. When the movie came out, there were a lot of articles about the movie, so I had to see what the movie was like. I read the movie reviews, which were full of spoilers, and I could see what was so wrong about this novel before reading it.
If you do not want any spoilers, I say skip to the next book I didn’t like.
Me Before You centres around a girl who begins to take care of a man who is quadriplegic, and they fall in love. Although the idea of a love story not centring around abled couples was refreshing, the novel destroyed this potential. The man who is quadriplegic is someone who is wealthy, handsome, and a bit snobbish at the beginning of the book, and then he becomes disabled. From reading spoilers online, I learned that he wishes to have assisted suicide because he cannot live his life being disabled. I found this greatly offensive because I am someone who was related to someone with disabilities, and never was their life demeaned because of their disability. People with disabilities matter and deserve a happy and healthy life, just as much as abled people. From reading online articles, I learned that other people were unhappy with this novel, and started the hashtag #MeBeforeEuthanasia to show that disabled people’s lives matter.
I couldn’t find all the articles I read a few months ago about the novel and film, but here are two articles that are probably what I did read.
The other thing I disliked about the novel was how generic it was. I only read 30 pages of this book, and it read like Twilight to me, except for the plot that I somewhat described above. The female protagonist is a brown haired, quirky girl, who is “not like other girls.” It was incredibly boring having to read something I’ve read in bad YA novels years ago. If this is a contemporary adult novel, I shouldn’t be reminded of Twilight. I honestly would skip reading this book because it is overhyped, offensive, and poorly written. I couldn’t even finish it, and I’m thankful for those articles I read a few months ago for saving me a couple hours of my life.
The second book I didn’t like was Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris. Technically, this isn’t a novel, it’s a play. This particular play centres around race and housing, and how where one lives can greatly effect their social status. In the play’s two parts, it focuses on a black families being forced to move from their homes because they’re in a white neighbourhood. Now, if you have no knowledge of the incredible play A Raisin in the Sun, you might think: “What’s so wrong with Clybourne Park?” Well, my issue is that this play is written by a white man. That’s right, a white man. A Raisin in the Sun was written in the 50s (which is the inspiration for Clybourne Park) and was written by a black woman named Lorraine Hansberry. After learning that Clybourne Park was written by a white man, the effectiveness of the writing was lost to me. It lost all meaning, and I honestly couldn’t finish the rest of the play.
I read both of these plays in university, and I know why my professor made us read both plays on the syllabus. Suffice to say, comparing the two made me like A Raisin in the Sun so much more. I would suggest skipping Clybourne Park, and instead read A Raisin in the Sun. A Raisin in the Sun is a beautifully written play, that eloquently and effectively reveals the intersection of race, class, and the impact of gentrification. If you are a fan of plays, or want to read more works written by people of colour, I suggest picking up A Raisin in the Sun.
Here are Goodreads links to the books mentioned above:
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris
- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry