In honor of finishing Gossip Girl by Cecily von Zeigesar for E 405 today, I thought I’d document the top 5 most gut-wrenchingly awful books I’ve read this semester. So, here they are, in no particular order:
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
This book is really a collaboration by Jobie Hughes and James Frey, the author of the magnificently fictionalized A Million Little Pieces. It’s too bad because this book started out awesome. It had so much potential to be great. And then, by chapter 11… it flopped. The idea’s great, but the execution was sloppy. The morality lessons were thinly veiled, none of the characters felt wholly realistic and I wasn’t attached to any of them. As a matter of fact, I disliked the hero, John Smith, because he was childish, selfish, and immature, putting his social life and his weak attachment to a bland pretty girl over his and his guardian’s mortal lives. Such a let-down. Oh, and the movie? Not better.
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
SPOILER: This book is a lie. This book was not written anonymously. It was written by a woman named Beatrice Sparks. Who knows how much of this story is true? And, because it is a lie and written by a middle-aged woman instead of a fifteen-year-old girl, the language is either very dated or too advanced, the author leaves out things like what happened in school and the “love of her life” Roger, LSD is her “gateway drug,” and it treats all drugs as the same. Also, the author treats her and her friend’s rape very lightly. So… this book is just a contrived 70s scare tactic. And apparently they made a movie out of it. Why would they do that?
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
So at least this book about drugs isn’t a lie. I didn’t like this one for personal reasons, not because it was poorly written. It was just such a depressing story, although if you like realistic drug abuse fiction or poetry, then this book is for you.
Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
Ugh. Every overtly sexualized, negative stereotype of women is represented in this comic, so no, it is not directed at female readers even though almost all of the characters are female. I don’t think this would even be appealing to men either. I would think the women’s extreme savagery and use of the words “c***” and “b****” would make male readers uncomfortable. Then again, I’m not a man, so I don’t know. I was also disturbed by the derogatory terms used by women to address other women, especially the discussion of the word “cunt”, and the whole thing with the Amazons was ridiculous. And the whole thing with the Republican senators’ wives attacking the White House was absurd. So not only are Republicans gun-toting assholes, their wives are weapon-wielding psychos who are either too stupid or ignorant, or both, to have a calm, rational discussion without killing someone. Also, the Washington Monument as the memorial to all men? Really? How original to use phallic imagery to show men’s superiority (not).
Gossip Girl by Cecily von Zeigesar
So, this book was extremely painful to read. As a YA reader, this book was awful and I would never recommend it to anyone. As a critical reader, I would do the same thing but for slightly different reasons. I hate the characters, I hate the narrator, I hate the content, I hate the message it sends. I heard in the TV show at least Serena’s a bit more likeable, but in the book she’s not. None of the characters are good people, or even have any redeeming qualities. They’re all shallow, entitled, backstabbing gossip-mongers. So is the narrator, but worse. The content… I don’t even have space to go into. But the message is the absolute worst. Young women, according to Gossip Girl, need to be pretty, skinny, rich, catty, and dumb. Mostly skinny. The only good thing Gossip Girl gave us was this video:
Which is the exact opposite of everything Gossip Girl stands for. Yay irony!