Shall I Compare Thee to a Boring Book? Let Me Count the Ways

Yes, I know I just used two different poems to create the title, but I don’t care.

Why, do you ask? Because I just wasted the last two weeks of my life reading a terrible book.

At least the cover is nice.

Okay, not wasted. Regardless of the fact that Philip Roth’s American Pastoral and I didn’t exactly become BFFs, there are still lessons to be learned from literature. After all, the reason I read it in the first place was because of the supposed “family story” Roth’s novel promised, as I am in the beginning stages of writing a large family history type story as well. The book hopped on to my radar after a few people in my program suggested it and, since much of my reading list comes from peer suggestions, I didn’t really think twice before adding it to my list. That, and it won the Pulitzer Prize. So it had to be good, right?


At first, I just thought the book was slow. Then I realized it was slow and repetitive. So repetitive. SO REPETITIVE.

See? See how annoying that was when I said that word three times? Multiply that by 1,000 and you have American Pastoral.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. And I did genuinely enjoy the plot. If the plot had been matched with a completely different writing style, I would have read that book ridiculously fast. But in Roth’s stream-of-conciousness, dwell on this moment, hit you over the head with this main plot point 1,000 times circular storytelling, I lost interest.

This probably makes me a terrible reader-writer-English major person, but at this point I’m so bitter that I had hope over the book being enjoyable—after all, I enjoyed Goodbye, Columbus, so I kept reading in hopes that the storyline would pick up—that I just want to forget and move on. But first, I had to vent. Obviously.

The point of all this is don’t waste your time, unless you like circular storytelling that revolves around pretty much one single plot point—which is an interesting one, don’t get me wrong—and a book that feels like it WILL NEVER END.

Now I’m on to Oryx & Crake and am already much, much happier.


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