I love reading trashy books sometimes. Mostly I like to read well crafted, clever books, my recently read pile includes Lawrence Durrell and Cormac McCarthy. In fact it was the dense but lovely prose of Lawrence Durrell that prompted me to go for a couple of easy reads, to wash it down with, so to speak.
But today I hit one of the very rare moments in my life where I found a book so bad that simply couldn’t finish it. Don’t get me wrong, I have stamina when it comes to reading, I’ve got Don Quixote and Ulysses on my shelf, both read all the way through. If I start a book, I finish it. Apart from once, quite a while ago, when the book was awful, and today.
To give you a flavour of it (I won’t name it, I’m not that mean, and anyway, I’d sooner forget it):
In the prologue we’re introduced to a girl, a teenager, who self-harms.
The narrator has a terminal disease. His daughter, we are told in a throwaway line, has previously been abducted and rescued from having been tied up and buried with only a pipe to breathe through. Of course the narrator is separated from his wife.
A man turns out to be dead, probably killed by the self-harming girl who was abused by him. His other daughter was also abused until she got beaten up by some nutcase who put her in a wheelchair.
Right so, 100 pages in, all the female characters have been abused or nearly killed or both? And the only male character that isn’t dead is terminally ill? While reading it it seems distasteful but not shocking, it just seems as though the author is creating a bizarre fantasy world where this is normal. He seems to have forgotten to put any normal characters in there. I think I ended up only caring about what happened to the characters in the sense that I hoped they’d all get murdered too, just to put them out of their misery.
If I haven’t already given you a picture of how appalling this book is, bear in mind that I was reading it in my lunchbreak. I decided to go back to work early in preference to reading any more of it. It was that bad.
So now I need to find something to take away the taste of all that nastiness. There’s only one solution. It’s time to break out the Redwall books!