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 Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis is a book that is as emblematic of the 1980s, just like the Bridges of Madison County is emblematic of the 1990s. OK, not “just like” it, but they’re definitely two sides of the same coin. They also share in common an obscure author with 3 names, who wrote two hit books, saw a book made into a movie and then found their early success hard to repeat.

Just think about it – Robert James Waller Bret Easton Ellis One is famous for what his critics would call sentimental pap. The other is famous for what his critics would call nihilistic pap.

I feel like I need Bret Easton Ellis’ stuff just to relive a little 80’s nostalgia, but perhaps it’d be more fulfilling to watch the Robert Downey Jr. version of the Less than Zero movieinstead, which has quite an 80’s cast. James Spader AND Robert Downey AND Andrew McCarthy AND Jami Gertz? I feel strangely compelled to rent it. Anyway, these Scathing Book Reviews of Less than Zero would prefer to give it Less than Zero stars:

208 pages of aimless drivel. About 3 over worked metaphors that stick through a vapid juvenile vocabulary like the ribs of a starved street dog.

…and:

Somehow I never noticed that the city I live in is populated entirely by blond-haired coke freaks. Thank you, Bret Easton Ellis. You’ve really opened my eyes….

…and from the same review:

This book makes Jay McInerney’s “Bright Lights, Big City” (which shares much in common with the present tome) seem like Dostoevsky.

…and:

Less than Zero is less than bad. It’s tenth-generation derivative California noir by a silly trust-fund amateur with great connections and no talent… It’s Didion writ dumb, Chandler without corpses–unless you count the readers.

…and:

I ordered this book from Amazon, after seeing such comments as “the Catcher in the Rye” for this generation. Who are they kidding? Ellis is a one-note writer, who can’t even play his one note well.

…and:

It’s not a book; it’s words on a page, and even more they’re the wrong words awkwardly strung together.

…and some harshness for Andrew McCarthy:

Rarely does a movie improve upon a story told in a book; especially when the movie stars people like Andrew McCarthy.

…and:

If this is supposed to be literature, I’d hate to see what bad prose is like.

…and finally a review that makes me wonder if Less than Zero’s alternate title should have been “A Night in the Life of Tucker Max”:

Maybe i’m missing the point, but the entire book consists of this: I went to a club, snorted some coke, went to another club, snorted some coke, went home and slept, snorted some coke.

Scathing Book Reviews of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach is like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book that is emblematic of the 1970s, but is still read today. Its one of those books that I’ve heard of but never read, and like many who lived in Chicago in the 80s and 90s, was continually reminded of due to the presence of Rich Melman’s restaurant “Jonathan Livingston Seafood“. There was also the Jonathan Livingston Seagull Movie which I came across on Cable some years ago.

I remember seeing an English Major reading the Book back in College, and its apparently assigned reading for Junior and Senior High Schoolers. If I ever do read it, hopefully it will answer the burning question “Why do Seagulls like Parking Lots?” These Scathing Book Reviews of Jonathan Livingston Seagull think that the Seagull is really a Dead Duck:

For a long time I had suspected that America was a nation full of pathetic people desperately striving to improve their lives. This so-called book has confirmed my suspicions.

…and:

This book is a piece of trash. I feel that nothing other than such a blunt remark justifies my feelings towards this mish-mash of bogey, high-faultin’ pretention and early 70s self-help gibberish. Clearly, this tripe hooked on to the swinging trend of cascading times when mid-life crisis was hitting people from 16 to 76.

…and:

I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions over the course of the book… Not because the author wrote something witty or clever – but because the book continued to reach new levels of stupidity.

…and:

To pad out this lame storyline, Bach gives us a bunch of grainy pictures of birds. Too bad he doesn’t have the guts to show us birds pooping on a statue, having found TRUE enlightenment.

…and:

The only good thing you can say about this book is that it is short, so it doesn’t waste as much time as it might.

…and:

In the miasma that was the 70’s lies this book, an embarassing reminder of the culture of self-actualization that permeated that era. Deep messages? Please… After being asked to write a paper on the meaning of the “Stairway to Heaven” lyric(!), having to read this book was the last straw for our 11th grade Language Arts class.

…and:

This is a simple story. So simple in fact that you wonder why the writer got paid for it.

…and:

A friend loaned me this book once when I was going through a very rough time in my life. Somehow, the book made me feel worse, so you may wish to hold off giving a copy to someone diagnosed with depression.

…and this review, excerpted at length. I’ll lay odds he’s an Ayn Rand enthusiast:

This slimy collection of self-important piety and nonsensical bilge is one of the most horrific encapsulations of what is rotten and bad in western society today. In it, a sentient air-rat decides he’s much too important to deal with small minded concerns ke making a seagull’s living eating fish. He decides he’s some kind of artist. He meets an asian air-rat who is of course much more wise and deep than his own whitebread air-rat self, and becomes some sort of super spiritual air-rat. Not content to jockey around the entire universe like some kind of air-rat version of Padre de Pio, he returns to earth to lord it over the other air rats with his superior spiritual pose.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck has shaped the way that generations have thought about the Great Depression. The book itself is a classic, but the 1939 film adaptation by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda, solidified its position in American culture. Some have questioned the book’s veracity in portraying the actual conditions of the “Okies” in California. Nevertheless, these critical reviews of “The Grapes of Wrath” show a good deal of wrath themselves:

I should have known that a book you can buy togehter with Cliff’s Notes is going to be boring.

…and:

I would recommend gum surgery over this book.

…and:

People have called this book propaganda, but that doesn’t even begin to cover it. Nowhere else will you find such schmaltzy dialogue, or such a laborious, falsely deep message. But I recommend everyone read this book, just to get a taste of what absolute tripe millions of people are capable of swallowing.

…and:

I’ve read books on genetics, i.e. no plot, no characters, that held my attention far better and used words more economically than The Grapes of Wrath. Perhaps if the novel had ended 400 pages or so before it actually did, I could have stomached it better.

…and:

I take comfort in knowing I will never be forced to read it agian. A school can only torture you once.

…and:

The Grapes of Hooey: Unless you’re a high school teacher who is hell-bent on warping young minds into America-haters, this book is not worth the time, money, or energy to read.

…and:

Steinbeck managed to kill off the two best characters in the entire book: Grandma and Grandpa, while Rose of Sharon, possibly the most annoying character I have ever read about, remains alive and whining till the dreadful end.

…and:

When you reach page 300 of a book and it’s still boring, STOP. NOT ONE WORD MORE. Any optimism won’t change the unread content. Unless money has been tucked as a bookmark later on, you won’t miss a thing.

…and this review, which is appropriately “thirtiesesque”:

I normally don’t support book burning, but for this book I’ll make an exception!

Scathing Reviews of Love Story, by Erich Segal

Just in time for Valentines day, some tough love here for Love Story by Eric Segal. It’s a book that has been overshadowed by the 1970 Movie Adaptation starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw, who famously got more beautiful as her character got SPOILER WARNING closer to death. Its most famous line – “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” has been the target of much mockery, and I can tell you that it never works in my house… These reviewers are sorry they started reading:

Damn I’m not averse to a good love story, fictional or real, but Segal couldn’t write a good sentence to save the love of his life, his eternal flame.

…and:

A book only Al Gore would want to be the inspiration for.

…and, this not exactly scathing review, from a reviewer that is, shall we say, “needy”:

This book made me think how worthless my life is. I wish I knew this kind of love but without all the swering. If you think you can be my honey bun please e-mail me baby. -I’ll be waiting-

And some reviews of the movie too!

Boo Hoo Hoo – Blech!: I bought this for my mother, who likes weepy, maudlin stuff like this. Feh! This type of film make’s my skin itch, it is a classic weepy film, chock full of cliches. This is the Holy Grail of weepy melodramas. Enjoy.

…and:

The song’s good, shame about the cast.

…and:

Nothing unmasks cheap scripting and trendy plot shifts like time, and the past thirty years have done a number on Love Story.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller is so emblematic of the 1990s that in a “The Simpsons” flashback episode to the early 90s, Homer is seen reading a copy with a tear in his eye. It’s definitely a love it or hate it book, with equal numbers of 5 and 1 star reviews. It certainly tore up the best seller lists back then – these reviews make it clear that some would prefer to jump off a bridge before rereading it:

I despised this book; it is poorly written, with cardboard characters and wooden dialogue, and its only virtue is its brevity

…and:

This is a terrible book. An insulting book. A dangerous book. It is so bad, so BAD. that it should have been sealed in foil like that dirty book Madonna put out a few years ago that showed pictures of her doing, uh, stuff.

…and:

So why is this book so bad? You might as well ask, why is the ocean so wet?

…and:

If you enjoy reading Harlequin Romances while listening to “You Light Up My Life” played on a Hammond organ, then “Bridges” might be for you.

…and:

I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but if this book were a horse, I’d have to shoot it.

…and:

Pungent Piles of Purple Prose! Pulsing Pangs of Poignant Pain! Perverted Peek at Porno Past!

…and:

This book is essentially worthless drivel. “He moves like a gazelle…” ?!? Is the author serious?

…and:

It was so sappy and stupid, it should be sold with a supply of Dramamine.

…and short and sweet:

Don’t bother. Your time would be better spent watching All My Children.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen

Only on force on earth could stop the power that is Oprah, and that force is… Jonathan Franzen? Yes, it’s true! The author of The Corrections caused Oprah to pause her Book Club selections in 2001, after a string of less than enthusiastic interviews about being in “The Club”, capped by the comment “She’s picked some good books, but she’s picked enough schmaltzy, one-dimensional ones that I cringe, myself…” She restarted it after a few years, but Franzen stung her like few would dare. Many critical reviews of “the Corrections” stung right back:

Depressing – What was Oprah thinking?
…and:

“The Corrections”….sounds like the name of a prison band and it might be more fun!

…and:

I tried to hang in there with this one but by page 300 – I think after Alfred’s hallucinations with the turd – I just thought, you know what? Life is short… I didn’t throw my copy [across the room] but there were times that I actually yelled at it.

…and:

Franzen’s well crafted puppets take out their garbage, and his.

…and:

The great American Novel? Oy, is this country in trouble!

…and:

This is a book about a majorly dysfunctional family. Warning: do not read it before you go on a cruise.(Or maybe while on a cruise.)

…and:

The hype was better than this book. The worst episode of OPRAH ever videotaped is better than this book. The manual that came with my blender is better than this book.

…and:

I hold no ill will towards Jonathan Franzen, just what he wrote.

…and:

If you read for pleasure, don’t buy this book.

…and:

I had so looked forward into diving into a big, thick novel on the hilarity of family disfunction.

…and:

I suppose that I have to give the author credit for well developed characters, even if they are self-centered, self-obsessed, petty individuals that inspire nothing but contempt.

…and here’s someone who found that “Bad for Oprah” is not equal to “Good for Me”:

Acting on my long held idea that “any bane of Oprah’s is a friend of mine” I purchased the book. That was my first mistake.