Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

The 5 Stages of Reading a Poorly-Written Book

Denial

There's no way this book could be that bad. One of my best friends, a great reader who also happens to be an indie bookseller, recommended it to me. Maybe I'm just really tired and thick-skulled right now. I'm sure it'll get better in the next chapter. 

Anger

Seriously?? Am I really reading this?! These characters are so flat I can't picture them in my head, little details are being introduced for no reason, the exposition is too dramatic for what follows, the sentences are simple enough a fourth-grader could understand everything, even the explicit and highly inelegant sex, and oh my God now there's Internet dating. I can't read this. You can't make me! 

Bargaining

If I can just finish the next five pages, the writing will get better. This cliche has already been used twice, so the next time will be the last. Maybe if I skim ahead to part three, I'll skip all the stuff that's putting me to sleep.

Depression

Why? Why does this book exist? It's 11pm on a Friday night and I'm curled up alone in my bed reading a book I don't like. What have I done with my life?  What has this author done with her life? Oh no...she's from the town next to my hometown. Its reputation is now ruined. And I can't do anything about that. How did this author even get published? *sobs*

Acceptance

Option #1: Yep. Screw this. The book is actually just that bad. Bye-bye. See ya. It is gingerly placed back on a shelf, never to be touched again. At least not before the next yard sale/book swap/donation.

Option #2: Yep. Just a bad book. Oh well. I'm already two-thirds of the way through. May as well finish it.