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4 Fiction Books Not to Read

Updated on November 9, 2019

Crazy Rich Asians

Since Crazy Rich Asians was such a popular movie, I was excited to find the book that it was based on. Perhaps my expectations were too high for this since I did like the movie pretty well and expected the book to be even better.

The book, however, fell flat for me. The story is great, just as in the movie. An exotically rich kid falls in love with an American and brings her home to meet his disapproving family. Unfortunately, though, I didn't find the book to be that well written. The author seemed a little too caught up in bringing in cultural details, which while fascinating, I felt detracted from the story development. There were a few too many characters, and the ending was a little too drawn-out. The part about Rachel's dad was interesting, but seemed a little like a last-minute addition squeezed into the story.

I also had a problem believing in the reasonableness of this story line. If Rachel were as close to her mom and boyfriend-almost-fiancé as she was supposed to be, how have they kept such incredibly major secrets from her? Is she not inquisitive or curious at all? Does she spend all her relationships talking about herself?

Divergent

I will admit that I do enjoy some good dystopian fiction. When I am having a hard time focusing at work, I often put in my headphones and listen to audiobooks, and dystopian is often my default.

I have never seen the Divergent movie, but I had heard good things about it and didn't hesitate to choose this book. Unfortunately, this particular book was very disappointing.

First, I thought the book was poorly written. Granted I hate romance novels, but especially as a book written for preteens, I believe the author should have cut back on the romantic material. Why is such a large part of the book about the main character's obsession with and fear of sleeping with her boyfriend? Also, did we really want to encourage 17-year-olds to date much older partners?

Finally, if you translate the dystopian nature of this society into modern terms, isn't Tris dating Four equivalent to a college student dating their professor? The relationship is presented as normal and healthy when I am not convinced that it is.

Regardless of my moral disagreements with the book, Divergent just isn‘t a well-written work of fiction.

Lion

Lion is another book that I really wanted to like. I haven't researched its validity, but if true, the story behind the book is absolutely phenomenal. Unfortunately, I think the author got too wrapped up in some minute details at points. The story felt like it dragged on and went very slowly, which made it less enjoyable.

The author clearly has been through some traumatizing events, but I would have preferred him to emphasize his role as a survivor than his victimization. Ultimately, Lion felt like a book with a lot of potential that could have been executed much better.

The Alchemist

This book came so highly recommended that I really, really wanted to like it. Stories about simple young adults who grow into adventurous, confident men and women are usually touching and satisfying. Maybe I couldn't get past the symbolism that the author uses.

The Alchemist starts off in a very promising way. A simple shepherd boy is pressured into going on an adventure. He manages to reach a big city and makes a couple friends, but then the author starts to lose me. The main character is on some sort of vague, ill-defined journey to find himself. As a planner, I just couldn't handle Santiago’s complete lack of any solid plan!

Then (and this may be a spoiler, so be advised) why the heck is Santiago trying to turn himself into the wind? Why the wind? Aren't alchemists supposed to be creating gold? And another spoiler: he never actually makes any gold anyway. Why call this book The Alchemist?

Flip Side

To conclude, I am actually not saying these are terrible books. I can see the reasons they are popular and widely read. Each story has lessons to teach you if you choose to read them. Each story expands your view of the world and provides insights into their respective authors’ minds.

However, I am also an advocate of constructive criticism. For example, each of these books shows an author with a creative mind and complex story-telling skills. However, each also has some less stellar attributes that I think should be considered as well. Indeed, I encourage you to read controversial books, and even some terrible books as part of your reading list.

Do you disagree with my list? What are some books that you have read but felt could have been better?

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