Scathing Book Reviews of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, by John Gray

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray has a few insights into the male-female dynamic. Whether they are right, wrong or simplistic is open to question, but one thing that isn’t is that John Gray no longer uses the title PHD on his book covers. “Mars and Venus”made quite an impression when it was first published in the mid 1990s, and spawned annual books using the”Mars and Venus” theme by Gray, who knew a good thing when he saw it. The original continues to sell strongly today, but these critical reviews of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” find a more simple message:

The book can be summarized in one phrase, men like to solve problems, women like to have problems.

…and:

The book should be called, “Men are whiney, delicate little things and women should bend over backwards to give them their space.”

…and:

The most sexist, biased, silly, unfounded, unhelpful waste of time to come from a publishing house in many a moon.

…and this review, from a woman I’m glad I’m not married to:

If all you want to learn is how to tolerate the self-absorbed male you live with, have at it! Yet another in a long line of books designed to convince females that it’s okay if he’s an oafish, selfish, non-communicative fixture who believes the only needs that count are his own.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Firm, by John Grisham

The Firmby John Grishamwas the publishing phenomenon of 1991. It served as the launching pad for Grisham’s long career, and for a great line by Gene Hackman in the movie adaptation: “The Firm frowns upon drinking at lunch. I’ll have a scotch and soda.”

However, these critical reviews of “The Firm” are a bit shaky :

I was the beach for a week with nothing good to read so I picked up a paperback copy of this book at a 7-11. Let this be a warning to us all– don’t buy literature at the same place you buy chili dogs.

…and:

I give this book one star because it provides more purgative power than staring blankly at the wall for two hours.

…and:

Good reviews and personal recommendations prompted me to buy the thing. Thankfully I bought it in paperback (they burn easier).

…and this 2 star review, strangely reminiscent of Doctor Seuss:

I bought this book when it was first published, and I did not lke it. I read also the Italian translation, and I did not like it. I watched the movie, and I did not like it ( I am not a fan of Tom Cruise, do you believe it?).

Scathing Book Reviews of Moby Dick, or The Whale, by Herman Melville

Moby Dick is one of those books that everyone has heard about long before they ever read it. My first exposure was, believe it or not, an episode of “The U.S. of Archie” in which Archie and the Gang went a’ whaling with Herman Melville (Hey, it was the 1970s, what can I say.) Then, after years of hearing about it, seeing the Gregory Peck movie of it, hearing it quoted in “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan”, drinking Starbucks coffee (named for the First Mate of the Pequod), and essentially knowing when I saw references to it in our culture, I decided to read it. My reaction? Very similar to the first quote below. Read on and you’ll find that these critical reviews of Moby Dick are as sharp as Ahab’s harpoons:

This is, without a doubt, the single most overrated book in the English language.

…and:

Moby Ick’s more like it. A PIECE-O-TRASH! SENSELESS

…and:

“Whatever you do, don’t read it” advised a close friend. I thought that it couldn’t be as bad as that….but it was. After a great start, the narrative wallows for a seeming eternity before, I felt, that Melville decided that he’d better draw all this to an end, as he had finished impressing himself, and proceeded to do so in a few rushed pages.

..and:

Sure, it’s a great story. It made for a smashing movie. It’s so badly written that I want to scream. Pick up the Cliff’s Notes.

…and:

I hate Moby Dick. I hate Captain Ahab. I especially hate Herman Melville for writing this novel.

…and finally this reviewer, who is either mixing his sailors (Hook, Ahab) or his beasts (Crocodile, Whale):

Honestly, Over 400 pages devoted to killing a whale because it ate your hand? Come on.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, certainly made quite an impression on many book reviewers in 2007, but was a bit hard to find around the bookstore until Oprah Winfrey blessed/I mean chose it for her book club, coincidentally named “Oprah’s Book Club”. For the most part, readers enjoyed “The Road”. Or at least as much as you could enjoy the tragic journey of a dying man and his boy across an apocalyptic landscape. However, for some readers, those qualities failed to charm. These critical reviews of “The Road” are all downhill:

You may need to go on Prozac after reading this book….DOW-NER!

…and

What I thought: Gryke. Discalced. Mastic. Meconium. Rachitic. Siwash. Parsible. Woad. Kerf. Chary. Firedrake. Palimpsest. Middens. Pampooties. Salitter. Dolmen stones. Crozzled.

…and

I just started reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy and if I didn’t know better I would say that it was written by a 10th grader who has done too much glue.

…and

Indeed, it must be nice to be a recognized, award winning author and get away with anything you write.

…and

The perfect book for literary sadists.

…and

I don’t read a lot of fiction; this book does not make me regret it.

…and last but not least:

I don’t think I’ll read anything marked “Oprah” again. If she really read this and STILL recommends it, I don’t think I’ll be watching her show anymore either. Someone that twisted shouldn’t be giving life advice to anyone.

Scathing Book Reviews of “Master and Commander”, Book 1 of the Aubrey/Maturin Series, by Patrick O’Brian

Patrick O’Brian‘s series of 20 completed books about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars has won wide renown, and for millions of readers, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are compelling characters. Despite Russell Crowe’s best efforts, the movie based on the series was quite good. But for these readers? They’re not quite so enthused. “Hoot Toot”, indeed: – these critical reviews of Patrick O’brian’s “Master and Commander” would like to sink the series:

Mr. O’Brian could have learned a thing or two from James Clavell.

and…

You know those books that you read thinking, “Okay, not really exciting, but it’s got some potential. Maybe the author will come around…” and then after a while you think, “Well, I’ve read most of it. I might as well finish it.”. And then you finally finish it and think, “Man, that book turned out okay after all.” This is not that Book.

and…

I got through about two chapters of this and threw it away. O’brian writes like an old woman. The story seems to be about tea parties and gossip, the time and setting seem incidental to the story.

Scathing Book Reviews of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter, that plucky boy wizard, may have conquered the publishing world and the multiplex, but there are still a few reader’s hearts that he has yet to win over. Here are a few critical reviews of Harry Potter that “go all Voldermort” on J.K. Rowling’s first book:

Harry Potter books are written by an actual practicing witch to indoctrinate our youth. These books contain accurate depictions of ritual magic and satanic doctrines. Those who say it’s “just fiction” need a reality check!

and…

The characters are obviously derived from racism. I do not have a problem with this.

and…

In my opinion there are three options. Stay away from the Potter series. Buy the book and burn it. Or lastly read it and ponder suicide. Its that bad!

and…

The book just plays on that hackneyed boy-wizardmagical theme that’s been done time and time again.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

Who doesn’t like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain? Don’t tell Hal Holbrook but a few adults and apparently quite a few Junior High Schoolers foster some resentment. These critical reviews of Tom Sawyer can’t be whitewashed:

YUCK !YUCK! YUCK! – “It had no story, the charaters were lame, the plot was-yuck! and the way the talk was just difficult to understand.”

and…

“omg, Tom sawyer is the worst book ever! believe me it is a dull, boring classic that wont interest anyone!!!”

and…

“The book was o.k. It’s not my type of story so I wasn’t really interested. I guess it’s because it’s an old-fashioned book, I’m more into Harry Potter.”

and…

“The plot is so basic and boring that anbody could understand it.”