Posted on July 29, 2008 by scathingbookreviews
The Odyssey was written by Homer. If you say that to anyone born after 1980, they’ll immediately imagine Homer Simpson in a Toga, or Ulysses fleeing from the Cyclops, tripping and saying “D’oh!”. Now before you dismay over the decline of Western Civilization, remember that from 1900 to 1988, when someone said “Homer”, the average person’s first thought was Baseball.
That said, have I ever actually read “The Odyssey”? Bits and pieces of it in other works, but never the whole thing all the way through, and I’ll wager that most people haven’t. Watching that Armand Assante Odyssey TV Miniseries doesn’t count, folks. These Scathing Book Reviews of The Odyssey try to persuade you that it’s not a trip worth taking:
This book sucks. I dont care if Homer was blind or not this book is like 900 pages too long. I could tell this story in about 10 pages. Homer taking all long to say stupid stuff. Teens if you are reading this all I have to say is CLIFF NOTES CLIFF NOTES you will pass the test, unless you are in AP classes. The teachers expect kids to read cliff notes trust me my moms a teacher. P.S this book SUCKS
Although it may seem intriguing, this book can drive one to the brink of insanity.
It was tedious, boring, and extremely conceited.
I couldn’t even get past the first ten pages with any comprehension of what this was about. I reread lines half a dozen times with no idea of what Fagles [the translator] was talking about. What the heck is “hearth smoke”? What person alive says “that nonsense coming past your teeth”?
The general plot is rather repetitive. Odysseus overcomes a challenge on an island, and while leaving via boat, a storm takes him to yet another island, where the process is repeated. This makes the story predictable and less interesting.
I pity all of those souls who have to endure reading this utter rubbish. Every time I attempt to read it, it puts my wee self to sleep. This book is so boring, and I can not fathom how people (even though if they are pretentious secondary school teachers or literature lecturers)can still find this enjoyable.
If you’re going to read either The Iliad or The Odyssey, and you’re not a 2700 year-old Greek or Trojan, buy a Cliff Notes to help fill you in.
…and this Book Review that faults Homer for a lack of originality:
I feel like I heard this story many times before. Not cutting edge. Lots of interesting characters though. Unreallistic platitudes as they relate to the human condition. Homer has a lot of growing up to do.
…and this great review by a Freshman in High School:
I thought this story was very gross. I mean come on. We are having to read this book in freshman English. Actually our teacher reads it to us, but it is still disgusting. We are also having to watch the movie of this, talk about gruesome. It’s like Scylla comes out of the water and chomps these people out of the ship and blood showers everywhere. I almost threw up every day when we watch this movie. We watch a little each day. I am over there about to puke up my toes and everybody else, all the boys anyway, are saying how cool it is. My boyfriend just laughs when I tell him I almost threw up in there, he is a freshman, so he has to watch it also. I’m sure he thinks it is awesome,but I don’t.
Filed under: Action and Adventure, Classics of World Literature, Historical, Junior High & High School Assigned Reading, Literature, Men's Adventure, Movie Tie-Ins, Sea Adventures | Tagged: Book Reviews, books, Greek Classics, History, Homer, Junior High & High School Assigned Reading, Literature | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 16, 2008 by scathingbookreviews
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is a book that in the 20th and 21st century is more “heard of” than read, or even seen onscreen in movie form. Practically every history of the Civil War makes reference to it, and every American history class includes it as a test question. Boiled down, it makes the argument that “slavery is bad”. Unfortunately, being on the right side of a moral argument doesn’t guarantee great writing:
…this book is so sugary it made my teeth itch. It should be read and reviled.
Slavery was ugly. We need to know that. But not the way Stowe writes, I felt like I couldn’t bear another page. Unbelievably flat characters in an unbelievably flat setting.
i know she was against slavery but her depiction of black people is simply unbearable. oh god
Well, reading it all in one weekend may not have been the brightest move of my life. Still, this book was a hideous experience. Once you get past the first hundred and fifty pages the plot picks up enough to give the sheer boredom a minor respite, but the characters are about as flat as anything imaginable. Little Eva in particular I was ready to strangle, with hair or without, by the time she up and died.
..and this review, which uses Dickens as a benchmark:
…… the book has its ups and downs, but it is still not as bad as a Charles Dickens novel.
Filed under: Classics, Historical, Junior High & High School Assigned Reading, Movie Tie-Ins | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 6, 2008 by scathingbookreviews
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson was the Pirate Story that dominated pop culture until the emergence of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. Now, Jack Sparrow is the first name in pirates, while Long John Silver is now relegated to being known more for Deep Fried “Seafood” (defined loosely) rather than “Jim feller me lad” fame. While Treasure Island still makes me want to say “Aaarrrhhh”, these reviewers give it a big “Aaarrhn’t”:
How can this possibly be a classic? Most of the time I had no idea what on earth the characters were saying. It’s all in some kind of pirate-jive lingo.
The only one I liked was Captin Flint because I like birds but besides that I wouldn’t read it!
Gag me…this novel is the epitome of boredom. I’m not a huge fan of boredom.
It is totally on a reading level for way older people. Not 7th graders.
It is no surprise that “Treasure Island” was written by Stevenson just in a few days as its carelessness and pretty bad style attest.
…and this, from someone who apparently has a Pirate lingo of his own:
AGU! Man The book is Finally over with! That was torcher PLUS the movie was violent causing me to continue screaming and my classmates thinking I was insane! I gotta piece of advice, DONT BUY THE BOOK
ADDED BONUS: Remember that September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Here’s the Talk Like a Pirate translation of Amazon.com book summary:
Ahoy, climb aboard for the swashbucklin’ ad’enture o’ a lifetime. Treasure Island has enthralled (and caused slight seasickness) for decades. The names Long John Sil’er and Jim Hawkins be destined t’ remain pieces o’ folklore for as long as children want t’ read Robert Louis Ste’enson’s most famous scribblins. Shiver me timbers, with tis’ dastardly plot and motley crew o’ rogues and ‘illains, it seems unlikely that children will e’er say no t’ this timeless classic. –C’pn Naomi Gesin’er Aye.
Filed under: Action and Adventure, Classics, Historical, Junior High & High School Assigned Reading, Sea Adventures | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 25, 2008 by scathingbookreviews
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a book that I have yet to read, and I’ve been told that the Demi Moore movie version was not the most faithful screen translation – too many bathing scenes. Anyway, it’s certainly still read today, though it wouldn’t be if these reviewers had their way:
The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne holds little significance other than being a complete waste of time.
The author uses incredibly large words and you constantly have to use a dictionary or else you most likely won’t know hat you are reading.
This book is like a bad soap. No action. No drama. Very predictable. It is about a woman who cheated on her husband with another man. The baby dad is the preacher. Why the couple couldn’t have gotten a divorce is beyond me.
…reading through “dost thou” after “dost thou” isn’t any fun.
This work by Hawthorne, whose subject matter is always really boring anyway, is as dry and frigid as a desert.
…and, from this reviewer who apparently has never heard of Cliff Notes:
I read to pages of this novel and I had to stop!: I have yet to actually complete this novel. It is so dog-gone hard to understand. On top of this, I have an essay that is due: TOMORROW! Is there no relief?!
…and this comment, from a person that has CAREFULLY analyzed the book:
THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF WORDS PER SENTENCE IS 22.1! THAT IS IN THE 80TH PERCENTILE FOR RUN-ON SENTENCE STATISTICS!
Filed under: American Classics, Classics, Historical, Junior High & High School Assigned Reading | Tagged: American Literature, Demi Moore, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlett Letter | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 15, 2007 by scathingbookreviews
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.
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.
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.
Filed under: British, British Classic Literature, Historical, Movie Tie-Ins, Sea Adventures | Leave a comment »