I admit it, as much as I loathe the corporation, I'm still addicted to the one-star reviews on Amazon's site.
I'm fascinated by how many people don't understand what reviews are but yet feel compelled to give them. And I'm even more fascinated by how my stupid things people who read books on Amazon's Kindle say (as an overwhelming majority of the one stars compiled here come from Kindle readers).
At Atomic Books, we have a book club that meets the last Tuesday of each month. And every so often, I like to compile a list of excerpts from the ridiculous one-star reviews of some of the books we've been reading.
"did not receive-- waiting to resolve"
This is not a review.
"Fortunately Kindle books are instantly refundable. ...the Kindle format was messed up--the first letter of each chapter was supposed to be a large capital and instead was a tiny one."
Yes. Kindles ruin books. Fortunately, there are always paper books, AKA books.
"I made it to 65% complete on my e reader then had had enough. After reading Gone Girl and enjoying it so much I was looking forward to another book by Gillian Flynn but found this book to be dark and uninteresting. There were no characters I found interesting. I do have to admit that I found a synopsis so that I could figure out who the murder was."
I find it interesting that you found the book so uninteresting that you couldn't finish it but you still had to look up a plot synopsis to see how it ended.
Also, many of the Kindle "reviewers" talk about their books in terms of percentages - 20%, 15%, etc. in terms of page counts. I understand why (lacking actual pages, Kindles have a percentage meter), but it just always strikes me as odd to see people using precise-seeming percentages when referencing where they are in the book and not the page number.
"Better yet, just go to Wikipedia and read the summary. That's just about good enough."
What's with people hating the book but still needing to know the story?
"SHARP OBJECTS is essentially a literary novel that the publisher has labeled a "mystery" to push more copies on unsuspecting consumers."
Busted! It's that ol' Literary Novel conspiracy. Like moms trying to sneak vegetables into their kids' diets, Literary Novel enthusiasts are always trying to trick genre fans into reading stuff that's "good for them."
"The pacing is extremely slow, this is should have NEVER been marketed as a thriller, or a mystery novel. This is a plain old drama for a mind that is bored to death."
"This is NOT really a murder mystery."
Maybe not, but there IS something wrong with these types of genre fans.
"The things that bothered me the most about this book was Camille's behavior. What 30 something accepts drugs and alcohol from a 13 year old? and a sibling at that? why would she sleep with two men within hours of one another, and one that was barely a child at that?"
Do you know people? I mean, like real people?
"The only thing I can say about this book is only read it if you get it out of a garbage can- and even then I would pass it by!!"
So then don't read it if you find it in a garbage can? I'm confused by what you are advising here.
"In the end, although I finished it I relegated it to the trash can where it properly belongs!"
Now I see where the person above got the book.
"I was so fed up with the overblown and unrealistic characters that I put it down and will donate it to the next "Friends of the Library" book sale."
What a great friend.
"Let me compare it to bathing in vomit."
Why would someone bathe in vomit?
"If the book was an animal, I would euthanize it."
So you want to kill animals?
"This book so full of ugliness, anger, and general foulness that I found myself questioning the author's mental health. Ugh."
Let's go Ad Hominem!
"Gertrude Stein observed of Hemingway that anyone who wrote so much about sex and death must have serious issues. What does Objects tell us about Ms. Flynn?"
Also, let's leave Hemingway out of this.
"According to this novel, small-town America is a disgusting, mentally toxic environment filled with the most awful people who are only there because they lack whatever it is that drove the better people to leave. I'm not from a rural town, but I really want to believe this isn't true. The book is interesting and well-written but it left me feeling horrible."
Almost everything that is wrong with amateur "reviews" can be found in this snippet.
"I think it is totally unsuitable for a 'grown up'."
I think YOU'RE totally unsuitable for a grown up.
"The buyer should be forewarned that inappropriate language is prevalent in the book. "
Another reader who commented on this person's "review" said it best, "Grow up."
"It is appalling that a female would portray a female lead in such a negative light."
Fourth Wave Feminism?
"The shocking twist at the end was not very believable. And I'm not a puritan, but it was just too gratuitous with graphic and repugnant details, with no point except shock value."
No, I think you're a Puritan.
"Disturbing, disjointed and sick. I hated each and every character. I want my money back."
"Disturbing, disjointed and sick" seems like it should warrant at least 3.5 stars.
"If you want to read a novel populated with depraved degenerates then this is the book for you."
Sterling recommendation. Seems like, according to this review, the book should warrant at least 4 stars.
"Loved this book, hard to put it down!"
So of course you gave it one star?
"twisted and dark But I couldn't stop reading it"
"I can't decide if I loved the book for its page turning draw or hated it because I couldn't believe the destructive words kept me riveted. I give the author 5 stars, but the images I've imagined, just one star for how sick I now feel."
"Good writing, awful topic"
And these folks just seem very confused by what they experienced and that even though they enjoyed some aspect of the book, just decided to one-star it.
"I can't imagine anyone cutting words into their skin all over their body."
"The cutting issue is very real for many girls....why expand on it?"
You two should get together and talk.
"i read gone girl,,and got this one w/great anticipation,,,but it terrible,,,incest, blood, violence, childhood death, terrible sex,,,worst book ever,,,really off putting"'
"What a trashy novel. I thought Miss Flynn was better than this."
"Childish, vulgar and no redeemable value. She should be working in a pigsty. I couldn't even finish the miserable thing."
"...way too much describing pubescent children for no real reason."
"SHARP OBJECTS was just too sexually disturbing."
"What a horrible book, about sick people! "
"This is the second book I've read by this seemingly talented author that made me feel 'dirty by association' after reading."
"I actually regret reading it. ... the book contains graphic images that I really wish were not in my head..."
"It left me feeling dirty and depressed."
"This novel was sickening to the bone. It was unnecessary, with gratuitous sexuality."
"Hated it - too much graphic depravity and unrelenting pathology."
"Did not finish---sick,sick,sick."
"Poor taste - painfully and unnecessarily graphic/sexual when writing about children"
"this book is TRASH."
"The razor blade on the front cover of the book is what one yearns for right after embarking on this read, sharp blade with which to cut every single page, one by one, until they are so neatly shredded that even the memory of what was written on them becomes non existent. And then, one can use the same razor to end one's own life."
"She is sick."
"Too gruesome for me. Dark dark."
"Not only is this book dangerous, but it is sick."
"Too violent and not a good idea to put into people's heads."
"This book robs one of smiles, of the beauty of life, and even of the reason for love."
"This book glorifies so many things that need to be fixed in the world."
People are so fragile. And the one stars go on for over 100 more "reviews." But they started all getting repetitive, and I figure you'll probably stop reading this before too long so I'll just pack it in here after just one more.
This was the saddest thing I found in all the one stars.