Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Book Review That's Not on the Books Page. Nobody Faint.

I recently received a book in the mail.  I was excited to get it; it's the first book I'm reading in conjunction with BlogHer's Book Club, and I couldn't wait to zip through it and write a review.

Except then I went ahead and read it.  And I didn't like it.  At all.

Now I feel bad, because I have to be honest, but I also don't want to write a scathing review.  I feel like there's a whole lot of superfluous negativity on the internet, and I do my best not to contribute to it too much.

Oh, well.


So- The First Husband, by Laura Dave.  Not my cup of tea.  Here's why:

It's about a travel writer- Annie- who's boyfriend of five years leaves her.  Within weeks she meets a charming chef, and within a few months after that, they're married.  Even though he's a great guy and kind of perfect for her, she experiences a fun little brand of buyer's remorse and does a whole bunch of really stupid stuff.

This book was painful to read.  Annie was likable in a generic kind of way, but her actions throughout the book were often so frustrating that I had to set the book down lest I start lecturing imaginary characters.

I think part of my frustration stemmed from the fact that Annie and her boyfriend were together for five years, and her new hubby and his recent ex had been together for twelve.  No wonder Annie was so depressed and had such a difficult time; who wouldn't be depressed to live in a world where relationships are ultimately disposable?

Maybe I'm just too insulated in my comfortable little world.  Maybe I'm just not happy with our present culture at large and the way this story seemed to be a reflection of its the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side mentality.

But if you're okay with all that, you should totally read this book!






If you'd like to find out more about the book or the discussion going on at BlogHer right now, click here.



Note:  I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, but all opinions expressed are (quite obviously) my own.

17 comments:

  1. Yes, it's hard to be fond of books that don't share our worldview, isn't it?? I think you summed it well: "who wouldn't be depressed to live in a world where relationships are ultimately disposable?"

    Sorry you didn't get an enjoyable book--how frustrating. I guess maybe it will just reinforce your own commitment to your relationships and encourage you to pass that on to your kiddos. :)

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    1. That's a good place to go with this. Thanks for the perspective.

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  2. Oh gosh, you finally nailed it for me! I couldn't figure out the thing that frustrated me the most. But you're right, it was the "disposable, grass-is-always-greener" mentality. It didn't matter that she went back in the end. It was that she just gave up and gave in when faced with adversity and another opportunity presented itself.

    Thanks for your comment! Glad I wasn't the only one who didn't enjoy it.

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    1. It seems that there are a lot of us that didn't much care for it. And she really did just give up over and over again, didn't she? Annie was kind of a pansy.

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  3. I was a bit nervous about posting a negative review as well, it is the first time I've had to do it. I have always been able to find something positive to report. I like a good fluffy sandy beach read. This was definitely not it.

    Kath

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    1. Agreed. I enjoy chick lit every now and again, but it has to be relate-able or funny or SOMETHING. I couldn't find anything here.

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  4. Well, glad I'm not alone in my first negative review! Better read next time, Ladies!

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    1. You're definitely not alone. We seem to be split in our positive vs negative reviews. I guess you just never know what book is going to speak to which person.

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  5. I feel better about not loving the book now. I didn't hate it and I did find a few positives, but overall, it wasn't my cup of tea.

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    1. Isn't it strange that so many of us felt guilty for not liking a book? I've never gotten the slightest hint of "YOU MUST WRITE A POSITIVE REVIEW" from BlogHer, but the guilt was still there. It must be that we're all just super duper nice.

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  6. What made it easier for me to read, was picturing the character Griffin being played by Matthew McConaughey! As I mentioned in my review, the character of Annie is weak - I found myself angry with her for latching on to Griffin so quickly & for all of the other poor choices she made along the way.

    There are enough stories about weak women, I would like to see more authors (particularly female authors) write about strong women.

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    1. Yes! I want my daughter to have strong women to read about! Speaking of which, have you read J.K. Rowling's essay on being a Hermione versus a Pansy? It's fantastic.

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  7. Is it terrible that I'm relieved to see that others didn't like this book either? I felt rotten writing a less than positive review.

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    1. See? A big bunch of super-nice people here.

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  8. I actually did like the book, but I feel your pain when it comes to writing negative reviews. I've reviewed five books for BlogHer now, and only actually liked two of them. I had a hard time writing one review because the book was a DNF (did not finish because I hated it that much) for me, but in the end, I always feel like it's best to honest as long as you lay out exactly why you didn't care for the book (or whatever). I think you did a good job of that here.

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  9. I actually did like the book, but I feel your pain when it comes to writing negative reviews. I've reviewed five books for BlogHer now, and only actually liked two of them. I had a hard time writing one review because the book was a DNF (did not finish because I hated it that much) for me, but in the end, I always feel like it's best to honest as long as you lay out exactly why you didn't care for the book (or whatever). I think you did a good job of that here.

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    1. That's a good point. It does no good if your criticism isn't constructive. I'm glad some people liked the book, though.

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