Books You’re Supposed to Love … but Don’t


Last week I had my first encounter with Jane Austen, and … it didn’t work out so well. For my English major I’ve had to read a lot of what is classified as literature. I’ve struggled through Chaucer, had a love affair with Milton, and been wowed by Mary Shelley.

But Jane … oh Jane.

Pride and Prejudice has been sitting on my shelf for quite a few years. A close friend of mine loves this book, and doesn’t hold back whenever the subject of Mr Darcy pops up. I’ve been told many times that P&P is a wonderful classic. It’s a romantic and literary masterpiece. So, I went in highly optimistic and quite excited to finally have a reason (or a nudge) to read this much loved book.

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To say I was disappointed is an understatement. P&P is a book I’ve been told I’m supposed to love. And I just don’t. At first I felt guilty that I hate something so many others rave about. But I’ve come to the conclusion that this story (for me) has been so glorified over time that people must be more in love with the act of being in love rather than actually being in love.

I found the story tedious, the characters shallow, and I wondered most of the time how such an earth shattering romance can possibly develop when the two characters falling in love never really saw each other! Mr Darcy has been put up on this massive pedestal, and by the time I got to the end of the book, I really did wonder what all the fuss was about.

Now, the BBC mini-series adaptation in my opinion is a wonderful thing. It has breathed a life into this story that just wasn’t there for me between the pages. Dare I say in this instance that the movie was better than the book? Yes, I think that’s exactly what I’ll say. The mini-series is witty, and funny, and there’s tension, and interest. None of which I got from reading P&P.

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Image ©BBC

Have you ever read anything you’ve been told you should like (or love) and then loathed it all together? Tell me if there are any books that have affected you in this way. I’d also love to know what you think about P&P, if you’ve read it.

 

K. A. Last has finally finished her YA series and can’t wait to get it into the hands of her readers. She is the author of Sacrifice, Fall For Me, Fight For Me, and Immagica. She drinks lots of tea, is obsessed with Buffy, and loves all things purple (it used to be pink). K. A. Last hangs out on Facebook or you can find her on twitter and Goodreads. She’s also been known to blog once in a while.

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10 Comments

  1. I so agree! I can’t stand P&P… I couldn’t even finish it which is a big deal for me. I even tried to read the Zombies version, but even ninjas fighting zombies couldn’t save it for me. I think there are a lot of people who do buy into the hype and the feeling that they are supposed to like it, so they say they do. My husband (an English teacher) agrees that Austen in general is just terrible.

    Jane Eyre, although Victorian, was a great story I thought. But then Wuthering Heights made me want to stab something… so I guess it’s a mixed bag.

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  2. Oh, I couldn’t even make it past the first half of P&P! I still feel bad because I know so many people who adore it. I am going to try again but I’m not holding out much hoped. I saw the movie with Kiera Knightly and while I liked that better, I still didn’t see why it’s considered one of the most romantic stories and/or couples ever?

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    1. Yes! So many people do adore it, but then I guess we can’t all like the same thing. I’m going to watch the Kiera Knightly version as well, but it’s not promising since I can’t really stand her as an actress either lol.

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  3. I read it a long time ago and remember not being that impressed, but that’s about all. And there are definitely some times when the movie is better. Or the broadway musical! (I really didn’t like the book Wicked but loved the musical. Someone needs to write a novelisation of the story from the musical.)

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    1. I LOVE Wicked!!! I’ve seen the musical three times. And I actually love the book, too. Very different stories though. The book is much darker.

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  4. I’m a big fan of Pride and Prejudice (book and BBC version). 🙂 Your friend sounds just like me, touting the virtues of P&P and Mr Darcy at every opportunity. 🙂

    When it comes to a couple of other popular classics though, I would happily strangle myself in preference to reading them again.

    1. Ulysses by James Joyce. It often tops the list of best books of the 20th century. I forced myself to read the first 50 pages or so and I loathed every moment of it. I’ve heard the book described as a literary masterpiece, however I thought it was nonsensical waffle.

    2. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. If I wasn’t depressed before I started reading it, I sure was by the time I finished! It’s grim stuff. The face-cage with the rat is just plain cruel to readers!

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    1. I haven’t read those, although Ulysses is on my shelf. I wonder if it’s on pretty much everyone’s shelf. I also loved Frankenstein, and the Great Gatsby, although they are far easier reads. I loathed Moll Flanders and wanted to poke my eyes out with hot sticks. I never finished it and still managed a DI for my essay. So yes, I think amongst the classics there is something for everyone to love, but also a lot for everyone to hate 🙂

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