You’ve experienced it before. The book. The hype. Maybe it even becomes a movie. And then, for some reason, the meteoric rise of a novel has a Milli Vanilli level fall. (You 90s people know what I mean.)
It’s not an uncommon story. A beloved book suddenly ceases to be cool and is thrust into a world of mockery. People who used to love it now shrug and claim they never really did.
Here are five such books many people flocked to buy (including myself) and now have trouble even admitting they ever read.
Here are 5 Good Books Gone Bad!
5. Twilight Series
At one point in time, this simple girl meets vampire, falls in love and tries not to constantly get herself killed story was a revelation. Then something happened and the love for this book got sucked out of existence.
But, I refuse to jump on the dumping on the Twilight bandwagon. I love it still, despite wimpy Bella and overprotective Edward. I will even admit, I read the first and third books (my favorites) three whole times, placing them with books like Midnight’s Children, Pride and Prejudice and The Heart of Darkness, in terms of books I’ve read thrice.
Why? I don’t know. This book sunk its teeth in me and never let go.
4. 50 Shades of Grey
I will admit to reading this book. Propelled by the hype and the strange twist that it started as Twilight fan fiction, I couldn’t resist.
In case you are somehow not familiar with this tawdry tale, mousy Anastasia meets super-rich, hunky Christian Grey (thus the “clever” name). They fall for each other, but his erotic tastes lead to complicated developments.
I was not someone who read this book and got swept up in the romance. Reading it felt like a chore. A friend once told me “you’re reading it for the wrong reasons,” implying I should stop trying to find something literary and just enjoy it. But, the second I read the word “pram” I was done. No one I know in the US uses the word “pram.” (It’s a stroller.)
Yet, I don’t seem to be alone in my dislike. No one wants to admit to liking it or even having read it anymore. But, people did. They’re still out there, hiding their love in the dark grey shadows.
3. The Da Vinci Code
This is another good book gone bad I read and I liked*. (Yes, that’s an intentional asterisk.) I liked the premise. I liked the mystery. I did not like how Brown hits the reader over the head with concepts and metaphor. I get exposition. I don’t like condescension.
But this book might have rivaled Twilight in its level of obsessed reader frenzy. There were entire TV specials on the story of the symbologist who ends up investigating a murder that uncovers clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci that reveal a secret so old and so controversial, a secret society has spent years protecting it.
It’s almost compelling despite the overt, knock-you-over the head explanations. Perhaps that’s why people now turn up their noses at the book. Or maybe it was a matter of over-saturation. People got sick of hearing about it. (Hamilton, take note.)
2. Eat Pray Love
Like everything else on this list, this book was so huge it was turned into a movie. This one starring the wonderful Julia Roberts. The story follows a woman who leaves behind the idea of traditional success and sets off to explore how to have a successful soul.
I never read it. I didn’t have any aversion to it, other than the fact that everyone told me I had to read it and when people tell me I have to do something I typically do the opposite. So, I never picked up this book. But I might have been the only one.
What happened to it? People don’t talk about it much anymore. No gushes and tells me I have to read it. For some reason Eat, Pray, Love never made it past sensation. It actually seems kind of sad.
1. The Notebook
I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks book. But I will openly admit to loving the movie version of The Notebook – Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Gina Rowlands…Come on, it had James Garner! Maybe that’s why the schmaltzy story worked on film. There have also been Bollywood and Bengali film adaptations. And hang onto your 40s swing dresses, there may even be a TV adaptation in the works.
The book was clearly popular enough to spawn so many offshoots. But this book and other Sparks books aren’t highly respected in the literary community. So why the haters? Perhaps it’s the sappy and excessively sentimental storylines. Not everything needs to be about beefed up superheroes though, right?