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.

Scathing Book Reviews of 1421: The Year China Discovered America, by Gavin Menzies

1421: The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies is also known as 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, by those unfortunate enough to not live in America. (I keed, I keed…)  Seriously, that is its title overseas, and whether you agree with the thesis of 1421 or not, it’s safe to say that someone at Harper Collins discovered localized editions sometime in the 20th Century.

Now, as someone who’ll never forget reading about Thor Heyerdahl for the first time back in 4th Grade, I have to admit that the concept of the Chinese discovering America is intriguing, and y’know, those Aztec temples do look a lot like some Chinese restaurants I’ve been to.  When I read The Discoverers years back, I remember reading about the Chinese Treasure fleet with awe, and I would imagine one of those vessels would be easily large enough to sail across the ocean.  PBS, apparently needing something people would ACTUALLY WATCH for a pledge drive, even came out with a 1421 DVD, which no doubt now comes with a complimentary PBS tote bag for every pledge over $50.

However, the lack of solid documentation, and criticism of respected historians, combined with the recent publication of 1434, in which Menzies credits China with sparking the Italian Renaissance, makes me think that the author simply fell in love with his idea.  I’m sure he believes that China did all he claims… But I don’t.  On the other hand, no one once believed the Vikings visited North America prior to Columbus, which is now an accepted and documented fact.  However, these Scathing Book Reviews of 1421: The Year China Discovered America , think the book is like Chop Suey – apparently authentic, but not quite:

This is quite possibly the worst book ever written. A five year old could have written something that would have had more historical merit.

…and:

Menzies’ own account of his research techniques leaves one gasping with incredulity at his incompetence.

…and:

Oh, boy! This enormous example of what Samuel Eliot Morison called “moonstruck history” is a poorly edited, contradictory and irksome argument that the Chinese voyages of 1420 and following went not only to Africa, as Louise Levathes and others have documented, but circled the earth including treks to near the North and South Poles and planted colonies in North and South America.

…and:

 If you believe that little green men from outer space built Stonehenge or the Nazca lines in Peru, this is the book you want to read.

…and:

I would give this book no stars, excepting two factors. First, the part about trained otters was cool. Second, it made me laugh.

…and:

This book is both good and original, but but part that is good isn’t original and the part that is original isn’t good.

…and:

As a professor of Chinese history, I cringe now thinking about the time that I will have to take during class, time that could be used teaching about Chinese history and civilization, to disabuse students who have heard about this caper.

…and:

Eric von Danekin showed more scholarship in making his claim that aliens built the pyramids… Pseudo-science and pseudo-history are going downhill.

…and:

…I’m open to this story at the beginning. But I’m from Missouri, so when, on page 415, I find “the Mississippi River west of Kansas City” that old show-me attitude really kicks in…

…and, of course, the mandatory decrying of slipping standards:

It can only be an indictment of our currrent, media-addled culture that anyone would take this book as serious history.

…and this reviewer of 1421 believes the Chinese must’ve made one other major discovery. That’s right, the little blue pill:

I… enjoyed him having the Chinese making sperm donations throughout the New World into New Mexico and Arizona. They were definitely intrepid and must have also had Viagra.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren

If you’re like me, the first time you heard of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren was during that hostage situation where the woman shared the book with her captor, eventually resulting in him releasing her.  Later on, we found out that she also shared some Meth with the guy.  I think Jesus had another Rock in mind when he founded his Church, but the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways… 

Anyway, what with the hoopla over the “pre-debate” at Saddleback Church, it seems like Rick Warren is quickly becoming “America’s Most Famous Protestant Pastor”, so maybe the worth is worth a look.  Life is awfully complicated, and most of us could use some advice on how to best live it.  However, these Scathing Book Reviews of The Purpose Driven Life say the book is beyond saving:  

Please Lord, stop the endless flow of Purpose Drivel© merchandise. This is NOT about honoring you, it’s about making Rick Warren rich. Warren is to mass marketing what Tammy Fae was to makeup.

…and:

The modern professional who has no time for deep thinking wants a streamlined road to heaven and Rick Warren delivers. In place of commandments, sin, redemption and the cross there are business motivational lectures.

…and:

After reading this book, I had had a strong urge to find another religion. Something has got to be wrong with that.

…and:

I don’t recall anything in the book being ouright heretical. That is about the highest compliment I can pay Mr. Warren’s work.

…and:

The book itself is smug, dictatorial and frankly dodgy in some of its use of scripture. For example, to illustrate a point, we are given a quote from Job 5:2 – a quote from the mouth of Eliphaz – one of Job’s inept counsellors!

…and:

Great book if you’re looking for a way to give up responsibility for your life and your choices. I can’t quite decide if it is hopelessly misguided, or frighteningly maniuplative.

…and the Devil is in the Details:

I don’t know why anyone is surprised that this book has major flaws when Zondervan’s parent company, Harper Collins publishes the Satanic bible.

…and this reviewers says just go to the Source:

If you are searching for meaning for your life, read the Bible instead

Scathing Book Reviews of Walter the Farting Dog, by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, Illustrated by Audrey Colman

It’s hard for me to believe that a book named Walter the Farting Dog required two authors, particularly when, according to book reviewers, the setup and plotline seem identical to Dogbreath by Dav Pilkey of Captain Underpants fame. As for myself, I can’t believe that a book named “Walter the Farting Dog” would’ve been allowed in bookstores even as recently as the 1990s, much less the 70s back when I was a kid.

Although, perhaps there was a “farting” subtext that I didn’t recognize in my favorite children’s books. Could it be that Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel couldn’t get work was because of Mike’s tragic flatulence problems? Did the Ingalls Family keep moving because Ma and Pa had a fondness for beans that made them social pariahs? Regardless, the reviewers who left these Scathing Book Reviews of Walter the Farting Dog think the book stinks:

Unbelievable! SHAME to the publisher for actually marketing such a book! SHAME to the author who penned it! SHAME to the illustrator who drew it! And most of all, SHAME to the PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS etc. . . who actually purchased it! A waste of good timber!

…and the requisite mourning of American standards:

Ah, yes — the coarsening of American society continues. There was a time not so long ago when children were actually discouraged from engaging in potty humor because it was believed — how silly can you get? — that the goal was to raise mature people with a sense of class. Now, we’re told we should make poopie jokes with our kids and laugh right along.. . . just one more step in the process of creating a generation of low-class idiots.

…and:

To choose to encourage children to laugh at flatulence is unbelievable. My kids laugh enough at it that I feel no need to spend money to make it even funnier to them.

…and:

Yes, it’s true that kids find farts funny, but I don’t see why we should encourage rudeness and inconsideration unstead of teaching children control and respect for others. When your kid farts at the table, do you laugh and say “aw, how cute”, or do you have him/her apologize? Seems to me like all the people who love this book probably do the former.

…and I hope this review doesn’t refer that “that” F word:

What a treat–not. The author succeeds in getting cheap laughs by repeating the “F” word over and over, and by showing the mutt with clouds issuing from beneath his tail. Clever. Tacky. What was the motivation, I wonder? <shaking head>

…and:

Well, there are GOOD books and then there are BAD books. This one deserves the trash can. Pathetic and in very bad taste. Who cut the cheese, man ???

…and:

This book is a nightmare. Funny? No, please have adults sunk to this level and do they intend to teach children that this type of thing is acceptable? Oh, it’s just awful. 😦