Scathing Book Reviews of The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank, (naturally) is one of those books that I just can’t bring myself to read because of the “depression factor”.  I’ve seen two Film Adaptations of the Diary of Anne Frank and I just can’t bring myself to read the book, because you know, there just isn’t going to be a happy ending. 

I think Anne Frank’s Diary is assigned reading for Junior High and High School students in both English and History classes because it makes the kids realize that history impacts real people their own age, like Anne, rather than just unfolding in dry history books or in black and white documentaries. 

These Scathing Book Reviews of the Diary of Anne Frank don’t take issue with the Holocaust, but with the content of the book, and wish that Anne was a bit more Frank about the history unfolding outside the annex:

I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but Anne Frank is more boring than the Home and Garden channel. She writes well, but why in the world should students have to read about her life as a young girl who does only one thing, complains. She goes on and on and on about NOTHING. It is like reading a broken record. I can’t believe that anyone could enjoy this book. I would rather watch professional bowling than read this book again.

…and:

I know that the holocoust was horrible and something that we do not want to repeat again but Anne Frank is just BORING. im not prejudice and i feel horrible about the holocaust but what i don’t get is why is this girl complaining about her life? she had it way better off then some people. And why this diary is even famous. Anyone from the holocaust could have written a diary and be made famous.

…and:

hey i am 13 years old like her and had to read it for my school and i thought it was the most boring book i have ever read. I mean i totally respect the holocaust and i am not pregiduce i just hated that book and it totally wasted my time. THANK YOU

…and:

It was really really boring. Its about some girl and her life- who cares!?! It is a total girly-girl book. Too dull to even care.

…and this utterly misgueded review, who seems to think Anne Frank decided to write the diary to become “famouse”:

This book was soo boring i read 2 pages then i burnt it. If you read this book i will personaly burn it for u……. SHe dint need to rite a fricken diary she just wanted to become famouse and she wanted people to feel sorry for her!!!!!!!

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 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 Breaking Dawn (Book 4 of the Twilight Saga) by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn, the finale to the Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer, ends a series of books popular to teenage girls of all ages and sexes.  I have read the synopsis myself and I have to say that the ending is not what most readers would come to expect, and one that most parents would not encourage for their children.

SPOILER ALERT

All I can say is, any book that ends with a teenage girl married to an undead 100 year old teenage boy, who impregnates her even though he has no “precious fluids”, which leads her to give birth to a vampire child and then become undead herself…  Well let’s just say that Bella isn’t a great role model. Friends don’t let friends become undead mothers.

END SPOILERS

These Scathing Book Reviews of Breaking Dawn think that Stephenie Meyer should have titled it “Breaking Down”:

The Twilight series has never been great– it’s been sloppily-written, almost plot-less, and incredibly cheesy– but it’s been a guilty pleasure. Or at least the first book was. New Moon was bad, Eclipse was worse, and now Breaking Dawn is the cherry on top of the really horrible sundae. It rapidly goes from unintentionally hilarious, to awful, to leaving the reader wondering how it ever got published

…and:

Everyone who hasn’t purchased the book yet, don’t bother. You can probably find a few thousand copies at any local dumpster.

…and:

 I think a lot of fans, die hards and those (like me) who just like to read a good book or series, woke up this morning thinking, “What was she thinking when she wrote this?”

…and:

I must admit that I was one of those screaming girls last night (early early early this morning!!!) who had to be one of the first in line to purchase (PRE-purchase!!) “Breaking Dawn”. I wish I had gone to bed instead!

…and a SPOILERISH excerpt from a very long, good, but R-rated review:

Further about the sex. Edward apparently just can’t control himself after the sex, and eats the pillows, tearing them to shreds. The second time he attacks the headboard. Judge that one for yourself. I find it ridiculous.

…and:

No more flinching, wincing, or cringing for me. Stephanie Meyer, I’m quitting you.

…and:

If you haven’t already, do NOT read. Convince yourself that the series ended with Eclipse, and let your imagination run wild for what happens next (for it won’t run any wilder than Meyers). And let’s have a moment of silence for a short but brillant writing career that will never fully recover.

…and this reviewer knows the real reason Breaking Dawn and the Twilight Saga “bites” – George Bush, of course(!?!):

I am struck how low women’s roles in fantasy have sunk during the Bush administration. While Buffy was a strong and progressive leader and hero, Bella is a passive retrograde heroine that makes the women of the fifties seem feminist.

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 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut is a book that I read by choice, and after I read it, I had two reactions.  The first was “huh?” and the second was, “I’m only 18.  I guess I’m not mature enough to appreciate it.  Well, I reread it recently, and while my first reaction was still “huh”, my second reaction was instead “The sixties were as weird as they say they were.”  While you’ve got to love a book with any character named “Montana Wildhack”, how they adapted this into a Slaughterhouse Five Movieis beyond me, but any movie with Valerie Perrine in it (Miss Tessmacher!!!!!) is worth a look.

Look, Kurt Vonnegutseemed like a really sweet guy when he was alive, and how can you not appreciate an author who cameoed as himself in the Rodney Dangerfield movie Back to School?  However, as much as I appreciate the art and creativity that went into Slaughterhouse Five, I can’t appreciate it as a “good read”.  

Leave out the stuff about the aliens and stick to Dresden and the POW stuff and I can hang with it, but Billy Pilgrim as a middle-aged guy having a nervous breakdown and maybe or maybe not being sent to a different world as the male pair of humans on exhibit at an Alien Zoo?  As they say in Mandarin – “Ay yuh!”  In Yiddish that would be “Oy Vey”.  In the “Dark Hunter” series “Holy Guacamole!” and where I come from “You gotta’ be sh*tting me”.

Here are some Scathing Book Reviews of Slaughterhouse Five that indicate the real slaughter was of Vonnegut’s reputation:

It is a novel that is ripe for discussion in a high school or college lit class that will excite the professor and utterly confuse and bore the student.

…and:

…With all due respects to the author, this is the WORST book I have ever read in my life. It is disjointed and hops all over the place. There’s no continuity at all. The prose is terrible. The back cover says it is funny without laughing, splendid art, a book without tears. Wrong! I am actually crying: that I paid so much money for this. I gritted my teeth to finish reading this book.

…and:

I finally got around to reading it recently. It is appalling that this is considered a classic and that it is studied as an example of American literature. I am especially amazed that this book is studied in English courses across America. Message to students: Question the judgment of any teacher who presents this as an example of anything other than worthless …that should have never been published.

…and:

Slaughterhouse-Five is one of those rare sorts of books whose total lack of any merit whatsoever is inexplicable in the face of its generally agreed upon status as a world classic. Had this fatalistic, dewy-eyed tripe not been written during the escalation of ‘Nam and the sudden moral ambiguity pervading American letters at the time, it would, honestly, never have made it close. This is sad. The literati have doubtless showered numerous accolades at its feet, though what, for instance, is there to celebrate in this pure dreck?

 

…and:

I’d like to tell anyone who thought it was overly strange and disjointed, I agree! So it goes… some enjoy classics like this, some do not. My english teacher told me I took it too seriously. All I have to say to him is, “Po-tee-weet!”

…and:

I might have liked it better in college when being cynical and blase was cool.

…and this review, which seem familiar from other reviews of “classics”:

I prefer Daniele Steele, and there’s no basis for telling me I’m wrong. Vonnegut is no better or worse than Daniele Steele!

…and, finally the true explanation Slaughterhouse Five’s unique style:

I’m a freshman in high school, and I was relieved when my English G/T (Lyceum) teacher confirmed my suspiciouns that Kurt Vonnegut was, in fact, high.