Friday, 21 November 2008

Eight Bucks for a Bad Book

I've got a paperback book that is sitting in my car right now. I keep a book there at all times for waiting around in doctor/dentist offices and waiting in line at school for pick up.

Anyway, this book has a great plot, but if I hadn't spent eight bucks on it, I'd have thrown the damn thing in the trash even if it does. I'd never read this author before and liked the title, so I took a chance and picked it up. I won't take another chance like that. No more buying without having read the author before.
Unless, of course, I get a really good recommendation.

I mentioned this book a couple of days ago on the Avoid Writers Hell group in regard to head hopping. I was only three chaps into the book then, but now I am over half way. This author has taken head hopping to new and dizzying heights. She doesn't just hop from hero head to heroine head and back again. This author hops through the heads of several characters--all within a couple of paragraphs. I swear to God, one scene that took place during a Thanksgiving dinner party had to be read four times to figure out what the hell was going on.


With that said, the passivity of it is just as bad. It's glaring. Truly glaring. I have gotten to the point that I am only reading the book so I can edit the damn thing as I read and reassure myself there is hope that some day I'll hit the NYTBS LIST.

Because if this author can make it, I damn sure can. Worst editing and writing job I've ever seen. I am so in awe of just how bad it is that I googled the author and discovered she is quite old and has written a slew of books. I had never heard of her. I am hoping that since this is the most recent book, the problems have something to do with her advanced years. However, I can't excuse her editor or her publisher. The punctuation and grammar are fine, but head hopping and passive voice ruined this book for me.

I'm one of those readers who can handle an occasional pov change from one character to another as long as I think it works (easily understandable) and as long as the author doesn't hop back to the other character, but in this book there was absolutely no restraint. As a result, the book has been difficult to read and understand. In the end this book does have one redeeming quality. It's a classic example of why we have editors and so many rules within the mechanics of writing.


M.E Ellis said...

I'm surprised you've got half way through. I manage about 4-5 pages of this kind of thing and close it, never to be opened again.


Tess MacKall said...

Eight bucks and to tell myself how good I am. lol Hey, ego and money. It's what makes the world spin on its axis. Surely you didn't think it was gravity and such. lol

Anthology Authors said...

Yeah, I'd be pissed too. Now I want to know who it is. You can email privately if you want. (grin) Pretty please. LOL


Lisa Griffin said...

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing Marci.*grin* I can't remember if Tess mentioned the name on AWH. lol.
Tess, it does sort of hurt when you fork out eight bucks for a good read and it turns out to be disasters. Enjoyed the rant though.

Faith said...

Me too, Tess. I gotta know who it is. I have a lot of old books so if the author has been writing for a while, chances are I may have an old copy of her work.

Carol said...

Head hopping and passive voice both drive me nuts. Can't do it. I write in first person just to avoid having to keep more than one POV in sight and then still have to avoid the passive stuff.Sure don't want to pay money to read it.

Helen said...

I get so little time to read these days, I'm leery of buying any book that I don't have good info on. I've had too many books on my nightstand go into the library donation box, with only the first three or so chapters read. It's really frustrating.

If I want to take a gamble on an author I've never read before, I hit the library and walk through the shelves to see what might peek my interest. I have never picked up a book from the library that I didn't like, even books far outside my usual tastes in genre and style. I guess that says something about my local library, which is they don't stock bad books.

So um, maybe I should stop donating bad books to them? Oops.

Tess MacKall said...

Hey All,

Yep, this was a bad one. And I started to review the book and thought better of it. This woman is incredibly old. The GRAY PANTHERS might protest in front of my house or boycott my books. lol

Suffice it to say, the publisher and the editor are at fault here. The book should not have been published regardless of who the author is, how much money her books have made in the past, or for any other reason.

It is a confusing read in certain sections and I find that information from a past relationship has not been covered either. All in all, one that wasn't worth my eight bucks and I'd never buy another title by the author again.

Quite frankly, I will be on point in regard to the publisher. I wonder if this publisher allows this type of thing on a continual basis.

Thanks to all who commented.

Faith said...

I do the library thing too, Carol. I also will go to and look up a book to read excerpts. If the writing is good, then I'll go ahead and buy it.

Tess MacKall said...

We just had a used book store open this week. You can go in and even rent books for fifty cents a day. Not bad if you are a fast reader.

Guess the economy brought that on. I haven't been to the library in a while, but I think it is time I went back. I know there are some tried and true authors amongst the stacks I haven't read.

Tiffany Nightshade said...

Weeeellll, the author's age has something to do with this. What is now called Head-hopping was once called Multiple Viewpoint or Omniscient POV and was perfectly respectable. As for Passive Voice, that now means something different from what it used to mean too. So... the writer is using the style she has always used. When she began, it was THE style. It's just fashion. You can hardly expect a lady of 70 to start wearing eyebrow rings and miniskirts ('tho she might actually do so if she chose), can you? The writing that once won awards and garnered loving reviews and large reader followings is now termed Headhopping-passive. I think it's sad... Yes. I'm an oppinionated bitch too.

Faith said...

LOL! There is a method to your madness!