Midnight Thoughts: Praise



I needah rant, gurl.

A few days ago, I was reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It was pretty good. But I won't be reviewing it, for this reason: when I finished it, I was feeling distinctly disappointed. I guess I could say I felt cheated. The problem wasn't the book - it was the praise.


So, when you first pick up a book, it usually has

a) absolutely no praise on it at all
b) a crap ton of praise everywhere
c) maybe one back cover of praise

I have a bone to pick with the b) books.

Thoughts on Praise

When I first picked up True Diary, this is what I saw on the front cover: a National Book Award Winner medal. Occasionally, I will come across books with medals. But I have long since learned to ignore these awards, because of Rules, by Cynthia Lord.

Rules I read quite awhile ago. It's a children's book, but it's won a Newberry and a Schneider award. Despite this, it was really bad. So I learned to not trust medals. These days, a medal on a book doesn't affect me - it doesn't promise anything.

So when I saw the National medal, I didn't think much of it. I flipped it over and read the synopsis on the back cover. Also included on the back cover was a list of more awards won and some praise. It was a normal amount, and what you typically expect from most books. In other words, it looked like a c) book.

Now, if the publishers had just stopped there, it would had been a much better reading experience.

I open it up, and right on the first page is a list of 26 various books award wins/nominations. That's probably more than I've ever seen for any other book.  My logic was that a book must be pretty good for so many others to be unanimous in liking it.

The next three pages consist of 26 paragraphs of page ranging from one to seven lines long. It was a lot of the same stuff, but it was promising.

By the end of it, I was like



I had really high expectations for this book. It was good praise, I saw things like "fierce observations and sharp sense of humor," "excellent in every way," "heartwarming and honest and wise and smart," "This book is so original, I laughed consistently from beginning to end." It sounded really promising.

I read it.

I did not cry once.

I did not laugh once.

I did not feel satisfied in any way.



The thing is, this book was really not bad. It was the hype surrounding it that ruined it. I was expecting a lot, thanks to all the comments. But it was unable to deliver. I doubt there are many books out there that can live up to all that praise, honestly. Had it stuck to just a few choice praises, I might have liked it more. Instead, someone's head got too inflated and they decided to dump every positive thing they had onto the book. It overwhelmed it. It ruined it. And it is a sad thing when that happens.

This is not the only book I've encountered with this issue. The same thing happened with the The Fault in Our Stars. I was expecting things from that book. There was a lot of hype. But alas! You all know my opinion of that particular novel.

This quote sums it up nicely.

"Rise so high, in mud you lie."

Thank you, Karnus au Bellona.

Raze the praise!




Share This:

18 comments :

  1. Well said, well said. *applause*

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think I've ever read a book with that much praise actually printed on it... wowza. Hype really gets to me too and when it doesn't deliver, I'm so disappointed and I think I just missed something that made the book so amazing. Maybe I was expecting too much? But you know, everyone has different opinions. That's what happened when I read The Mortal Instruments series. Everyone loved the books I just hated them. Yes, I did cry and all that but I thought they were just bad and had too many similarities to other books in the genre. Great post!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe it's better to not come across such a book. Hypes give me the gripes. ​It really is disappointing when you miss out on what everyone else likes. TMI was alright, but I preferred TID because I found Clary so annoying compared to Tessa...I agree though, TMI doesn't deserve ALL the hype it received. Thanks Laura :)

      Delete
  3. I read Cinder and that one had praise ALL OVER IT. Same with Divergent. It was like three pages before the dedication or the first chapter. What even, right? For me, i was able to enjoy those books anyway because I didn't bother reading the praise.

    For me, I don't care about the praise. It won't affect me at all because my opinions could end up being different from ALL the praise. So why think about it, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Content aside, the amount of praise can be pretty annoying. I read praise because that's just me... I read everything I can. I also read the copyrights, publisher information, trademarks, "This is a work of fiction....", classification, ISBN number, text type, and acknowledgements. Go figure.

      Delete
  4. I generally skip over the written praise in/on a book. I already picked up the book (which is what the praise on the outside is supposed to make you do), and I'm going to form my own opinion of the story regardless. As for the hype machine, though, I know what you mean. For the most part, I take everything with a few pounds of salt. Even with reviewers I tend to agree with, there's always a good chance a book will bomb with me. Low expectations! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only wish I could have expectations like you...​ sometimes I regret reading amazing books because they make everything else I've read look bad. I also wish I could stop reading everything I see... my eyes are attracted to words like bees are attracted to pollen.

      Delete
  5. Yikes! I've never encountered this particular problem about too much praise on the book. That's crazy! But I do know about super hyped books that I end up having very high expectations for but then disappoint me.

    As for the written praise on books, Kel's right. It's better to skip it and leave it for the end. Even though you want to know what other people are saying. (Happens the same with reviews). I even wrote a blog post about that effect other's people's opinions have on ours before we read a book. But it's more focused on how negative opinions can sway us. Guess lots of praise can be worst for our reading experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This books was probably the most extreme case of praise I've ever encountered. Most books are alright, and it's the overall hype, not just the praise, that are the source of my disappointment :P

      Delete
  6. The book communities lies to me all the time! I never fall in love with books that the masses ADORE and praise, so I've decided to ignore all praise whatsoever (be it via twitter or in the actual book). I'm a lot happier that way! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only people like us could be part of the masses... we might be happier. ​Nonetheless, I haven't completely given up on praise, because sometimes it isn't all sawdust.

      Delete
  7. Now that you say this, I think you're right! I am reading the Cinder series right now, and I like it, but I don't love it like everyone else and I wonder if it may be simply because I read so many rave reviews previous to reading. Some books don't get ruined by praise for me, like HP for example, but I definitely have seen this happen before. Great post :)

    I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award; it's totally fine if you aren't able to do it, just letting you know. :) http://myfullbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/2015/03/one-lovely-blog-award.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The wretched rave review returns! Spend to long on goodreads and I don't know what to think of a book anymore. As for Cinder, I've spent so much time away from that series that I can't even remember the plot details... so maybe it wasn't all that great. Thanks for the nomination!

      Delete
  8. Hey,
    I nominated you for the Liebster Awards Nomination. Here are all the details http://www.booksablog.com/2015/03/14/the-liebster-award-nomination/
    Hope we could be book blog buddies.

    From, Gabi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gabi! I'd love to be blog buddies too <3

      Delete
  9. Praise can be so deceiving sometimes!! I hate when it ends up having me be let down :P

    ReplyDelete

Share your thoughts and opinions! We love hearing from you and we reply to every single one. We'd love to check out your blog too!