Scathing Book Reviews of The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is one of those books that I bought, and tried to read. I read it in a circumstance where anyone would beg to have a book to while away the time, but you know, it just didn’t take. Perhaps I should have taken Linus Van Pelt’s advice and “bleeped” right over the Russian names.  And I kept waiting for the juggling to start, but by page 200, no flying pins or meat cleavers!.

Anyway, now, 20 years later, I may try again, but these Scathing Book Reviews of The Brothers Karamazov say “Nyet!”:

If you are interested in reading a book with a plot, or something resembling a plot, you’re in the wrong place.

…and:

It doesn’t make any sense to think that a novel like this one is really any better than say, Michael Crichton or Stephen King.

…and:

This book is all about some badly behaved brothers and their mean father and how they do nothing but shout and drink and threaten one another and are lewd and then, one of them anyway, goes to England, or at least he wants to. You call that a story?

…and:

75% of this book consisted of the characters going back and forth to each others houses talking about god knows what(you lose interest and lose track of who’s who eventually and they all sound the same).

…and this review of Debra Winger’s audio narration:

I am sorry to report that Debra Winger bashes to bits any pleasure that might otherwise be gleaned from listening to the Brothers Karamazov on tape… Winger reads the entire book like she has to go to the bathroom: a misplaced urgency and frantic pace pervade her every word… The result is that one feels like every paragraph is the climax of the story, and that every character is a cocaine addict who can’t score any blow.

…and this review, which is worth presenting in full:

What is it with all these names? : First of all let me say that if an author wants to sell books in this country, then use some american names for gosh sake! How in the h e double toothpicks am I suppossed to remember who’s who? The fact is you can’t. Hey listen, if you want to read about brothers, try that great baseball book, the brothers k. If you want to read about crime and punishment, how’s about a little grisham. But this guy fred dostoyefski is going to have to write a little bit more towards his intended audience. My advice to you Freddy if you read this………Russia went down with the Berlin wall, let’s write some good old fashion mystery thrilllers! Thank you and bless all of my comrades across the pond. Long Live Gorby!

Scathing Book Reviews of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is probably more often seen than read, with movie adaptations featuring Alistair Sim, Albert Finney, George C. Scott, Scrooge McDuck, the Muppets, and even Kelsey Grammer of Frasier for crying out loud.

The book itself is a quick read and quite enjoyable, at least to most. One surprise to me was that the scene in the Alistair Sim version where the dying Fanny (Scrooge’s sister) asks Scrooge (who just left the room) to care for his nephew Fred does not appear in the book. Here are a few Scathing Book Reviews of A Christmas Carol that say Bah Humbug! :

This book is by far one of the most boring books I have ever read. I do not recommend it to anyone. It was hard for me to keep up with whatever was going on.

…and:

Our Hero Ebenezer Scrooge: Scrooge was better at the beginning! He says: “You know the ritual: boo the curmudgeon initially encountered in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, then cheer the sweetie pie he becomes in the end. It’s too bad no one notices that the curmudgeon had a point – quite a few points, in fact. There can be no arguing with Dickens’s wish to show the spiritual advantages of love. But there was no need to make the object of his lesson an entrepreneur whose ideas and practices benefit his employees, society at large, and himself.

…and:

The vocabulary was exelent.

…and this which isn’t actually a bad review but has such a great title:

Horror of the Holiday

Scathing Book Reviews of Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte falls rather outside my reading circle, but its certainly one of those books that you’d like to be able pretend you’ve read, particularly when talking with women of a certain age, many of whom seem to use it as a touchstone of some kind.

Perhaps I will – but these Scathing Book Reviews of Wuthering Heights would like it to take a leap:

Heathcliff is a loser in every sense of the word. If Heathcliff were alive today he’d be in jail or hospitalized as “criminally insane”.

…and:

Wuthering Heights is inundated with Emily Bronte’s so-called unique style. It’s style is unique alright, if by unique you mean a brand new alternative form of euthanasia.

…and:

I hadn’t realized just how much I loathed [the characters] until halfway through the book, when a major character died, and all I could think was, “THANK GOD! THANK GOD!”

…and:

It sucked: The Real name of this book should be Wuthering Bites. This book is a piece of poo and there is no exciting parts. The whole book pretty much bit and I will never read it again.

…and:

The only reason I finished it was to settle an oddly masochistic wager with a family member… If there is such a thing as hell, for me, it would be an empty room with nothing but a copy of Wuthering Heights in it.

…and:

Some great works of literature are best lost to posterity and this one may head the list. Yet, we must read it if we are in an English Literature survey course.

…and there’s this, with advice that would have solved all of poor Emily Bronte’s problems… (!):

Oh poor poo-poo Heathcliff the Brooding and Catherine the ill fated strumpet. Yawn. Emily Bronte lived one of those lives like that of the other Emily, you know, Dickenson, who is another pile of rubbish altogether. Lonely days and cold nights with her father, , and no hot little encounters with a horny gardener from Spain. All Emily Bronte needed was a good tango, but I fear that she was too chaste.

Scathing Book Reviews of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens was the first “classic literature” in my experience, thanks to 9th Grade English with Mrs. Shively. I approached it with trepidation, and found it to be fairly enjoyable, and far easier to decipher than the Shakespearean English of Romeo and Juliet. The movie wasn’t bad either, and even featured “a young Alec Guinness“. No, the real one! Despite all this, these Scathing Book Reviews of Great Expectations show that some reviewer expectations weren’t met:

I was forced to read this book in my English class this year, and I almost died. For a more thrilling read, try a dictionary or a phone book.

…and:

Hello! My name is Pip! I’m an annoying little crybaby with no personality! Will you join me for tea and crumpets?,

…and:

If you want to read a good Dickens story, read “A Christmas Carol” and nothing else written by Charles Dickens.

…and:

A guy I work with read this book and it seemed like he was reading it for three years! Every day he sat there with his legs crossed sipping his tea and reading Great Expectations, spending about an hour on every page! What an aristocrat. It was brutal!

…and this reviewer, who faults Dickens for his Highfalutin’ vocabulary:

The writing is far too colloquial and Dickens employs highly uncommon words gratuitously, if not pompously. I found the story’s events frustratingly improbable, the coincidences felt contrived, and the writing in general is consistently agonizing to read

Scathing Book Reviews of Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land is probably both Robert Heinlein’s most famous work and catchiest title. But let me tell you, if you’re a young adolescent reading his famous juvenile science fiction novels and you come across this -old RAH can never be read the same way again. It’s not MY favorite Heinlein novel (I have a soft spot for Citizen of the Galaxy) and apparently, not these reviewers’ favorite either. Grok these Scathing Book Reviews of Stranger in a Strange Land and you’ll want to remain a Stranger to the novel

The repetition of the word “Grok” and “Groking” made me wacky. “I Grok You”, “That’s Grok delicious”, & “I feel Groky”. Get the picture.

…and:

Grok this: Rotten and inconsistent read. Waste of time.

…and:

In Stranger, people sat around and talked. Sometimes they had sex. A few people got killed by magic. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK.

…and:

Dated, Boring, Bad and the novel equivalent of “Barbarella”…

…and:

The time I spent reading this book is time out of my life I will never get back; do you “grok” that?

…and a three for the price of one review:

You know, this author never ceases to amaze me. I read Starship Troopers and though it couldn’t get much worse. Time Enough for Love proved me wrong. Then I started reading this “masterpiece” and was proven wrong once again.

…but perhaps most damning!!!:

Stranger in a Strange Land was the N’Sync of its time.

Scathing Book Reviews of Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Can you believe that Little House on the Prairie, the beloved television show, has been turned into a novel!?!

Just kidding, the beloved children’s books by Laura Ingalls Wilder has charmed millions, and for many, the versions featuring Garth Williams’ illustrations are definitive. Who wouldn’t like it? OK, Nellie Olsen, I grant you.  These Scathing Book Reviews of Little House on the Prairie make you want to root for the locusts:

I think this book was very borring because it explains things that arn’t very intresting. There was a whole chapter on how Pa built a chair! I don’t recamend it to any reader

…and:

This book was the worst book I ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to read this book for school and it’s 507 pages of dull.

…and:

Reading the unendingly dull chapters about Pa building the house, the door, the fireplace and the well made me want to burn the log cabin down. And I still can’t believe that Ma ironed on the wagon in the middle of the prairie. (wtf?)

…and, apparently reading Harry Potter will ruin the Little House books. Be forewarned:

I recommend this book only to kids under the age of eight and kids who have not read the Harry Potter or Artemis Fowl series. For lovers of fantasy, mystery, magic or science-fiction, you must turn elsewhere for a good read.