- 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James
"Couldn't believe how poorly written this check-out aisle trash was. Just page after page of no substance and finding new ways to describe genitalia."
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
"Basically bro culture disguised as philosophy. Pure junk."
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
"A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and NOT because it’s “heartbreaking”. It isn’t, it’s numbing; an exercise in torture porn. She takes a character and debases him as much as she physically can, but balances it with “oh he’s brilliant at everything and everyone loves him, but he has a hard life”. It’s empathy as written by someone who’s never experienced it, which it turns out is just cruelty. At some point I started to think “you could’ve just not written this story – you had that option.” It’s over 700 pages of slapping a character around because the author feels like it. Yanagihara grabs you by the throat and says “I WILL make you cry” and my reaction was “I’m not going to cry just because you tell me to”. It’s all tell, no show. “Oh let me tell you how AWFUL Jude’s life is”. Do you have to? There’s a Simpsons episode in which Bart and Lisa host a news show for kids and Bart starts doing sappy human interest stories for ratings. When Lisa criticises him he responds “I’m sorry you couldn’t feel for him” to which she replies “You didn’t feel for him either, you big phoney!” That’s my relationship with A Little Life: it’s a sanctimonious novel that dares you not to feel for a character that it clearly doesn’t care about. It’s an abusive book, not in that abuse is depicted but in that the relationship between author and character is abusive; it’s the literary equivalent of pulling the wings off a fly out of psychopathic curiosity. I found myself hoping Jude would die to save him from being written about. It’s just awful, grating, nasty claptrap. Hateful, purile, vindictive nonsense without meaning. American Psycho is a disgusting book that many people can’t get through, and I totally understand why, but all the pornographic violence in that has a point. A Little Life has absolutely no point to make.
The writing is sometimes nice. Reminiscent of Donna Tartt at times."
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