When you have an unpopular opinion on a book

img_0368I was fortunate to have the chance to review the book ‘My Year of Rest and Relaxation’ by Ottessa Moshfegh. (You can find my review here.)

Here is the deal: I didn’t love the book. It did keep my attention, it was different but I just didn’t gel with it. Nothing wrong with that, right?

The book has received much buzz. Mostly about how awesome it is. There has been praise for its ‘dark humour’ and being ‘caustic and acute’.

A few weeks ago (yes, I am behind on the blog posts) when the review for the book was on the cover of the New York Times Book Review section. Obviously I was curious on what the reviewer had to say.

I will take a minute for an aside. One of the really cool things about this blog is that I (we, because my husband does it too) get access to books before they are published and can read them before there is any press or other reviews. It gives me a chance to make up my own mind on it. Not that I don’t when reading a book that is already out, but it’s a bit different.

Back to the New York Times…

The reviewer said of the book: “…darkly comic and ultimately profound new novel….” And went on to have positive things to say.

Huh. Maybe I missed something.

Here is the awesome thing about books – you don’t have to like every one. That’s why there are so many books in different genres.

I will say that the New York Times review did have some interesting takes on the book. The thing is, when I am reading it and then reviewing it I look mostly at the enjoyability factor. Did I like reading it and would I recommend it to my family and friends? I am not really into looking at the literary quality or the writing technique or all that other stuff (I leave that to my husband, who is way smarter about these things than I am).

I think that if I had read the review in the New York Times and then read the book, I would definitely have had a different reaction. Ok, maybe not definitely, but I think that I would have gone into it reading it with a different mindset.

The positive reviews don’t change the fact that I didn’t love the book. Also, just because I didn’t love the book, doesn’t mean it’s not a good book. So if you are interested in it, a fan of her writing or are just curious, go and get yourself a copy. Let me know how you like it!


4 thoughts on “When you have an unpopular opinion on a book

  1. “The positive reviews don’t change the fact that I didn’t love the book. Also, just because I didn’t love the book, doesn’t mean it’s not a good book.” I love this sentiment. There are books I love that others don’t, and many popular books that get rave reviews that I just didn’t enjoy (*cough* Ready Player One *cough*). That’s the beauty of book reviews being subjective; Stephen King, when referring to learning how to write, says that we learn more from reading bad writing than we do from the good. I think this works with reading tastes and experiences as well; when you read something you don’t like, especially when it goes against current trends or reviews, you now have something else to look out for. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I read your review, and I see that you gave it three stars. Maybe you just feel weird about giving three-star reviews. I just posted an article that also says that a three-star book isn’t a bad book: https://pickingbooks.com/blog/preceptquotes

    I think you nailed it when you said “just because I didn’t love the book, doesn’t mean it’s not a good book.” Some books are not for me, but they aren’t bad, which is why I also feel weird about three-star reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

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