Scathing Book Reviews of The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank, (naturally) is one of those books that I just can’t bring myself to read because of the “depression factor”.  I’ve seen two Film Adaptations of the Diary of Anne Frank and I just can’t bring myself to read the book, because you know, there just isn’t going to be a happy ending. 

I think Anne Frank’s Diary is assigned reading for Junior High and High School students in both English and History classes because it makes the kids realize that history impacts real people their own age, like Anne, rather than just unfolding in dry history books or in black and white documentaries. 

These Scathing Book Reviews of the Diary of Anne Frank don’t take issue with the Holocaust, but with the content of the book, and wish that Anne was a bit more Frank about the history unfolding outside the annex:

I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but Anne Frank is more boring than the Home and Garden channel. She writes well, but why in the world should students have to read about her life as a young girl who does only one thing, complains. She goes on and on and on about NOTHING. It is like reading a broken record. I can’t believe that anyone could enjoy this book. I would rather watch professional bowling than read this book again.

…and:

I know that the holocoust was horrible and something that we do not want to repeat again but Anne Frank is just BORING. im not prejudice and i feel horrible about the holocaust but what i don’t get is why is this girl complaining about her life? she had it way better off then some people. And why this diary is even famous. Anyone from the holocaust could have written a diary and be made famous.

…and:

hey i am 13 years old like her and had to read it for my school and i thought it was the most boring book i have ever read. I mean i totally respect the holocaust and i am not pregiduce i just hated that book and it totally wasted my time. THANK YOU

…and:

It was really really boring. Its about some girl and her life- who cares!?! It is a total girly-girl book. Too dull to even care.

…and this utterly misgueded review, who seems to think Anne Frank decided to write the diary to become “famouse”:

This book was soo boring i read 2 pages then i burnt it. If you read this book i will personaly burn it for u……. SHe dint need to rite a fricken diary she just wanted to become famouse and she wanted people to feel sorry for her!!!!!!!

Scathing Book Reviews of Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler

You know, even with a site named Scathing Book Reviews, I often feel sorry for the writer who gets pilloried by bad reviews, even though getting a One Star from someone named BigTuna34JerseyBoy on Amazon isn’t the same as getting a nasty review from Michiko Kakutani.  However, in the case of Reviews of Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler, I’ll won’t feel a hint of guilt.

Perhaps you’ve heard of him?  Funny little mustache, black and white films, popular in the 1930s?  No, not Charlie Chaplin.  Yes, Hitler.  Some say Stalin was just as bad, but one thing you have to give to Stalin is that he just killed everybody that was against him, with no discrimination.  Stalin was just evil, while Hitler was distinguished by being both Maniacal and Evil.

While the Allies settled his hash a long time ago, and Hitler is surely paying for his crimes in the hereafter, history, in the form of the trusty Amazon reviewer, surely has the last laugh.  These Scathing Reviews of Mein Kampf say the book isn’t worth the struggle:

Talk about long winded!!! I find this a difficult read, he goes from one subject to another leaving me saying “whaaaaaat??”. Maybre I’m just a moron, got up to page 75ish & chucked. I read for pleasure, why tourture myself??!!!

…and:

Mein Kampf is one of the most bizarre books I have ever read. The tittle, when translated into English means My Struggle. Personally, my struggle was just getting through the first half of the book!

…and:

It should be known that while Mein Kampf was a big seller during Hitler’s reign, almost nobody outside the Party read it, it was so poorly written and obtuse. It is too bad that people read this crap and try to make its author more than what he was, an extremely lucky, but grossly ignorant man whose philosophy came from the gutters of Vienna and his inspiration from an event (WWI) that should never have happened.

…and:

It reads like what it is, a transcribed series of demented monologes dictated by *der Adolf* while he was cooling his heels in jail after the failed Munich *putsch*. Sure it’s all in there, the Holocaust, the war, the whole schmeer, but who can wade through the morass of turgid prose to find it? Who would want to? Imagine reading a transcript of fifty drunken, disjointed, endless *speils* by your racist old uncle against Jews, bankers, Communists and whoever else he had decided to hate that day. That’s what it’s like

…and:

Assuming, however, that the English translation is accurate, I cannot see how this maniacal idiot could have captivated otherwise intelligent and industrious people. I guess the Great Depression did strange things to people.

…and:

hmmm…this book reads like a madman’s amphetamine-driven rants.

…and:

its funny to read about how he admired henry ford for being anti-semitic. gosh i thought america was anti-hitler from the start, what with all the indiana jones and john wayne movies i have seen over the years.

…and finally, a reviewer who notes that while Adolf Hitler made a pretty fair homicidal would-be world destroyer, the authorial skills he displays in Mein Kampf are lacking:

No matter what you think of Hitler’s philosophy, this book is poorly written. Mr. Hitler despite his keen ability to commit a coup d’etat, run a fascist nation, and run a murderous holocaust he certaintly has trouble keeping his train of thought.

Scathing Book Reviews of The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman isn’t exactly Airport Reading, but that’s where I bought my copy.  Unfortunately, while I found the back cover blurb interesting and the introduction well written, I found that I couldn’t dig into the book the way I expected.  I attributed this to the environment of the Airport, but even at home, I find it to be pretty dry reading, and not particularly enlightening.

When I do read it, I tend to skip around within it, sort of like I do with The Discoverers.  I know that there are hundreds of glowing reviews, but even though I’ve read many books and articles discussing the same topic, I just find Friedman’s tough to get through, and less convinced than he is about what his “findings” mean.  Perhaps its becaus I lack his perspective, but he seems to be awfully sure of his positions.  These Scathing Book Reviews of The World is Flat think it lacks fizz:

This book will be a revelation to anyone who has been without access to newspapers or cable TV for the past 10 years.

…and:

…As each longwinded chapter unfolded more and more evidence presented itself as proof that this book is all filler. It reads like the publisher paid by the word alone.

..and:

I’ve always hated Friedman. He writes with a manic quality that dodges left and right around inconvenient details or moral evaluations. He simultaneously believes that history has a purpose AND that those who oppose anything that happens in the world are being head-in-the-sanders and obstructionists. He’s an ‘anti-normativist’–if something in the world happens, then, according to Friedman, it was clearly meant to happen and is surely for the best.
 

…and:

I’m not sure how the author can possibly be so fascinated by technology and yet know absolutely nothing about it at the same time, but his endless diatribes about the miracles of PayPal and Microsoft Word are beyond laughable, and I was pretty much in shock when he started citing howstuffworks-dot-com as a technical reference on fiber optics and SOAP.

…and:

Friedman is a quack. He’s made a cottage industry of describing the obvious. There’s nothing serious about his work, whether it’s professional, academic or other.

…and:

It is a mark of Friedman’s approach and personality that he dates the beginning of “Flat World”  phenomena to a few years ago, when he discovered them.

…and:

Outsource Punditry Now. The average call center worker in Bangalore can write a better book than this.

…and:

Horrible book and a waste of money that could have been better spent on some worth while. Maybe the “National Enquirer.”

Scathing Book Reviews of The Glass Menagerie, by Tennesee Williams

The Glass Menagerie by Tennesee Williams isn’t a book per se, but a play, but on the other hand, I had to read it in Mrs. Williams English III Class, so there.  It’s most famous as New York Stage Production, but was originally written as a screenplay, and filmed twice, once in 1950, and again in 1987.  

I remember that after we finished reading the play we watched the movie during class in High School.  I came away profoundly depressed by the message.   “The movie says that you just can’t win!” I thought, and then “What if that happens to me?”.  I also remember wondering how Tennesee Ernie Ford, who I had mixed up with Tennesee Williams in my mind, could seem like such nice guy on TV and write such a bitter play.  Honest! 

Now with more adult context, and a better understanding of which Tennesee is which, I have greater appreciation of the play and its characters, but I’m not convinced that its the most encouraging required reading for High School.  I do recommend The Glass Menagerie as a play, book and movie, but these Book Reviews of The Glass Menagerie think its cracked:

Why is it that in order for a book, play, or piece of literature to be considered “Great” it has to make you feel like you just walked through an emotional meat-grinder and rolled around in broken glass for a few hours? …This play should be issued with a bottle of St. John’s Wort. Thanks Tennessee!

…and:

This play can stand right beside “Death of a Salesman” as a depressing, pessimistic propaganda on how to deal with life’s challenges.

…and:

I am an action man so I really didn’t dig it to much. If your into drama and like sad stories about a drunk or a crippled depressed girl who’s mom keeps pressuring her to get out and find a man.Or if you like drunks that lie.This is the book for you.

…and:

I found Laura, Tom, Amanda and Jim to be terrible characters added to an already terribly boring and predictable plot that was excruciatingly difficult to bear. Concurrently, Tennesse Williams struggled hardcore so I am not surprised. Peace out.

…and:

A Tragedy to Literature…This play is filled with symbols, metaphores, and all that jazz, expecting you to feel for the characters and Tom. No, his unenthusiastic approaches at life, and depressed facade turn down any simpathy you feel for him. Amanda the mother is obnoxious, end of story. And Laura the sister is SO helpless you can’t help from stopping to want to end her life now. Don’t buy the play DON’T DO NOT watch it and never think about it again. Horrible.

…and a review by a High Schooler in need of some remedial spelling classes:

i am a frechman in highschool. i have read a varity of books such as A seperate peace, romeo and juliet, the odessey, and a bunch of other hard books. BUT THIS ONE I hated!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scathing Book Reviews of Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi

Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi is certainly the quintessential election year book.  I don’t know if Jerome Corsi believes everything he writes, but he’s certainly a canny author.  What better way to get book sales than to write a book attacking a major presidential candidate?  You’re sure to appeal to the base of the opposing party and get a ton of air time, and the best part is, even attacks on the Obama Nation book only make it more appealing to diehard Republicans. 

As for Obama Nation itself, I confess, I ain’t gonna read it.  Not because of my personal politics, just out of my reading and media preferences.  I’ll buy books on political figures (such as the excellent multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro, and on current events, but with modern political coverage, I’ll stick to the internet. 

Let’s face it – with all the revelations, deal-making and shifts in policy that goes on in politics, a book on any active politician is out of date the moment its printed – with anything written about John Edwards being Exhibit A.  These Scathing Book Reviews of Obama Nation think its an abomination:

Although I am not a writer, I have had a “flash of brilliance” about a book that Mr. Jerome Corsi could write next. It would be titled “Crackpot Nation” and would be about himself.

…and:

Whether you support McCain or Obama, this book is complete junk…it is a low-class smear job masquerading as journalism. Do your homework voters, and research both candidates. But don’t waste your time or money on trash like this.

…and:

Just when you that the Birchers had faded into a distant nightmare, their child crawls out from under a rock.

…and:

Where’s the best place to check out the conspiracy theories of Jerome Corsi? You will often find him on AM talk radio’s Coast to Coast AM, home of UFO buffs, exorcists and psychics. That should give you some idea of what to expect with this book…

…and:

This book is worth $1 mainly for its paper weight.

…and:

Why would anybody waste their money purchasing this book? If you’re pro-Obama, send the money to his campaign instead. If you’re pro-McCain, send it to the McCain campaign. If you like this author and think his work is accurate, send it to the Flat Earth Society.

 

…and from what I hope is an Ironic Reviewer:

I guess it’s okay to slander someone in the name of politics. Corsi is a mindless hack. Anyone who could possible think that such trash is credible should be given an mental status examination. Ach! Oh and by the way: John McCain wasn’t really a POW. It was all propaganda perpetuated by the military on an MGM soundstage.

 …and finally, I hope this person doesn’t answer e-mails from the “Bank of Nigeria”:

If the author couldn’t even get basic facts right — facts he could have gotten from Wikipedia or a simple Google search — then how can you trust anything in the book?

Scathing Book Reviews of Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown is the prequel to the book The Davinci Code.  However, the new Angels and Demons movie starring Tom Hanks is the sequel to the  The Da Vinci Code Movie. Sound confusing?  Just wait ’til you read the book.

Anyone whose read any of my little review summaries can tell that as much as I like a well written Scathing Review, I don’t really wish the author ill.  However, Dan Brown is just making too much @*%! up and passing it off as research to give him a pass.  Anyone that uses the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail as a supposedly factual foundation for their fictional story is just ~asking~ for criticism, and if that SPOILERy review at the bottom of this post is the real ending, he deserves as much grief as he can get.  The writers of these Scathing Book Reviews of Angels and Demons think the book is devilishly bad: 

There is no way you could use the words “good” and “Dan Brown’s writing” in the same sentence unless you were saying something like “Dan Brown’s writing most definitely is not good. It makes people want to gouge their eyes out.”

…and:

60 pages into the book I’ve decided the best course of action is to burn it.

…and:

The theatrical exclamations had me laughing incredulously. Example: When a woman happens upon the lone eyeball of her mutilated father, Mr. Brown (with all the grace of a third grader telling a flashlight ghost story), breathes, “She would have known that shade of hazel anywhere!” Stumbling onto a lone eyeball is commonplace, it seems. But… this eyeball looks familiar somehow… (Have we met before?) I’m waiting for this to dissolve into a Saturday Night Live sketch.

…and:

I have a bad habit. Once I start a book, I finish it, Hell or high water. Only thus can I explain how I got through this one.

…and:

This book is absolutely incompetent. People call it “fast-paced”. Well, yes but only by being corny and simple-minded. I’d have to quote extended passages to prove my point but suffice it to say that an assassin, after kinky sex, has “contented loins”.

…and:

…It came as a surprising revelation to me that a man in these United States could become a multi-millionaire writing so very poorly. My first thought was “Geez, even I can do that”. Dan Brown would be a competent copywriter for dish detergent, but he is wanting the basic descriptive powers of a fiction writer.

…and:

I realize that a great many people like Dan Brown’s books and think he is a talented author, but then again there are significant numbers of people who enjoy being peed on or watching Carrot Top, so the fact that Dan Brown is a best selling author perhaps shouldn’t surprise me as much as it does.

…and:

Dan Brown writes so terribly that he is beyond criticism. No adjective – no, string of adjectives – is too trite or cliché for him to throw in. All I can hope is that Mr. Brown made so much money off this mess of a book that he need not ever write another.

…and:

There are several murders in this book and after reading it I wished I had been one of them.

…and ending on a happy note:
This is quite possibly the worst-written book I’ve ever read. I struggled, waded, crawled and staggered my way through it. Then when I finished it – what a relief – I opened the window and threw the book out into the street. I’m very glad to say it was raining at the time. I will never read another word written by this author again. Yet, strangely, the book left me mildly optimistic: if a bestselling author can dredge up this dross, and write so appallingly badly, and get away with it, then surely there is hope for all of us.

and SPOILER ALERT, the most Scathing Book Review of all, a summary of the ending of Angels and Demons:

After the hero jumps out of a helicopter at 15,000′ using only a tarp as a parachute, surviving an anti-matter explosion on the way down, only to land safely in the river where coincidently a doctor sees him land and revives him. His third or fourth time he has escaped death today). All the while, the “pope”, who had a parachute, is pretending a miracle has happened as he has landed atop St. Peter’s to the roar of the crowd. JEEEEEEZ Get me outa here!!! Even as a movie, this would get boos.

Scathing Book Reviews of Tell No One by Harlen Coben

Reviews have been almost universally glowing for the recent French Movie Adaptation of Tell No One by Harlen Coben, the famed American thriller writer.  After watching all those Truffaut films back in College, I find it interesting that anyone in France would deign to make a film by any American writer, much less Harlan Coben.  Go USA!  

I’ve read Promise Meby Harlan Coben, and I have to say that I found it a little too twisty. My suspension of disbelief hangs by too thin a wire, I guess.  Also working against me was that Promise Me is one of the later books starring “Myron Bolitar”, and I was coming in cold to Myron’s story and his large cast os supporting characters.  Coben’s writeup in The Atlantic certainly makes him seem like a great guy, and I can only wish him continued success, but the writers of these Scathing Book Reviews of Tell No One would tell no one to read the book:

I’m sure I’ve read worse books than Harlan Coben’s “Tell No One”, but at the moment, I’m hard-pressed to think of one.

…and:

Honestly, it reads like it was written by a ninth-grader with a great imagination but little knowledge of the writing craft.

…and:

This third-rate prose style is further sabotaged by the author’s relentless penchant for shopworn cliches and similes and metaphors so egregious that even the likes of Mickey Spillane wouldn’t think twice about blue-penciling them.Thus, we are treated for lines like “His pounding heart was like a bird desperately trying to escape from a cage.”, or “the shocking realization hit him like a falling piano.”

…and:

The story gets too ponderous to believe, by the time you realize the plot is as leaky as an Enron tax return, you’re sucked in and you owe it to yourself to finish. Don’t expect to be enchanted and mystified with the ending, it’s not Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz in climax but more like Archie and Edith Bunker.

…and:

This is the most stupid, unbelievable, shot full of holes BS I’ve ever read. I can’t even bring myself to write a

…and:

The reason I give it 2 stars instead of 1 is because I actually finished it and there was something that made me want to see how the whole bloody mess would finally end. What an unbelievable plot, flimsey characters and mediocre (at best!!) writing style.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.