For this month’s Writer’s Book Club, I’m not reviewing a novel called Disappointing Books. Instead, I’m reviewing three books I’m very disappointed in. The first one is Gabrielle Zevin’s novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I couldn’t get through it, and here’s why.
I enjoyed the video game creations in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, particularly the Nazi one, and I liked the characters, even though their morals are questionable. But I didn’t like the writing style because a vast majority of the scenes are summarized. For example:
“Still, she spent the summer with Dov. She loved him and was, at this point, a bit addicted to being with him. She did an internship at Cellar Door Games in Boston and she never told anyone at the company who her boyfriend was. Among game designers, Dov was famous, and she didn’t want it to get back to Dov’s wife. She was so busy concealing (and having) the affair with Dov that she didn’t feel like she made much of an impression at Cellar Door. She didn’t feel creative, and she was always the first one to leave.”
Some summarizing is to be expected, but this book was heavy with it. I wanted to be in the moment. It reminded me of another book I had to stop reading, Beartown by Fredrick Bachman (of A Man Called Ove). Like Zevin, Bachman tells us what’s happening rather than showing us.
Hoover generally writes romance, so I knew there’d be some of that in this novel. But I wasn’t expecting casual, explicit sexual encounters to pass for romance. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned? Unfortunately, the psychological thriller aspects were unoriginal and cliched.
Additionally, the characters were two-dimensional, particularly Verity and her husband. Worse, the protagonist lacked agency. I heard there was a decent twist, but I didn’t care enough to finish the book.
I did finish Holly, the sequel to Stephen King’s Bill Hodges Trilogy. The main character is quirky, much like Eleanor in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I like Holly, and I was looking forward to reading a novel all about her.
But King refers to politics on almost every page and sometimes three or four times per page. Trump, Black Lives Matter, political correctness, mask-wearing, COVID vaccinations, etc. At first, the COVID references make sense as the book takes place in 2020 and 2021, but the constant reference to who’s wearing masks and who’s vaccinated gets old.
Additionally, a lot of these references don’t fit the story. For instance, in previous books, King portrays Holly as a germaphobe. But in this book, Holly meets a potential client and tells her since they’ve both been vaccinated, they can take their masks off in her office.
During the height of COVID, a germaphobe would insist on wearing masks (possibly two or three) all the time. She might even wear gloves. Most likely, she wouldn’t even meet the client in person. She’d stick to virtual meetings. So, removing masks didn’t fit the character.
Most importantly, King misled me and betrayed my trust in him as an author. His novel promised horror in keeping with the previous books in the series, but it preaches politics. I read novels to get away from politics unless that’s specifically what I’m looking for (I do enjoy a good political thriller). If King can’t stay away from politics in his next horror novel, he’ll lose me as a fan. And that’s a shame.
Did you read any of these books? If so, what do you think? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
I still enjoyed reading excellent books
Thankfully, as a board member of the Chicago Writers Association, I had the opportunity to read six excellent entries into the CWA Book of the Year Awards. They were exceptional, which made reading them a joy and the selection difficult. Congratulations to the finalists!
Next month’s book club
Meet Leda Foley: devoted friend, struggling travel agent, and inconsistent psychic. When Leda, sole proprietor of Foley’s Flights of Fancy, impulsively re-books Seattle PD detective Grady Merritt’s flight, her life changes in ways she couldn’t have predicted.
After watching his original plane blow up from the safety of the airport, Grady realizes that Leda’s special abilities could help him with a cold case he just can’t crack.
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An escape room with an Earth-changing prize. Forty-nine rivals in the deadly race. Can this seventeen-year-old survive the heart-rending trials?
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