Every Review is Right

The Professor lent me The Thirteenth Tale to read and I was trying to describe to The Butcher the kind of book it is. I settled on “It’s the kind of book you’d give to someone who didn’t know you hated them.” And then I worried that’s why the Professor had given it to me.

I’ve never before read a book, finished it, asked myself, “Was that good?” and then checked the reviews on GoodReads only to discover that I agreed with them all. The people who gave the book one star are not wrong about its incredible shortcoming. The people who gave the book five stars are not wrong about its considerable awesomeness. The twist both makes no sense and perfect sense. The suggested romance at the end comes out of the blue. The writing is overwrought and frustrating, but I couldn’t put it down.

I still don’t know if I liked it. I didn’t even know how many stars to give it over at GoodReads. I don’t know if I would recommend it to you.

I guess I kind of feel like, if this book is your thing, you will fucking love it. Unabashedly. I mean, pulling out some kid’s Barbies to reenact your favorite scenes type of love. But I’m not quite sure who would love it. And yet, I kind of want to find those people and have tea with them.

I hate blog posts that end with questions, but I must know. Did you read this? What did you make of it? And, if you loved it, can we have tea and play Barbies about the twist?

4 thoughts on “Every Review is Right

  1. So in retaliation you’re trying to make me look bad? Didn’t I admit that I wasn’t quite endorsing the book but thought it might be fodder for thought about meta-storytelling?

    Or, put another way, maybe I do hate you and didn’t even know it.

    Can’t wait to talk about the ending that, yep, make none and perfect sense.

  2. You did say that, which you had to know would lead me to want to read it even more! You are an evil genius!!!

    No, I am dying to talk about the end. I thought, about 20 pages before the reveal, that maybe that’s where she was going, but then it seemed too stupid. But then it happened and it didn’t seem stupid.

    It’s weird. I think it’s good. Maybe that’s where I’m settling. It’s good. Just… something.

  3. Very strange book. There is something brilliant about it, but not in a normal way, which left me unsettled at the end as well. I think anything that leaves me with lingering thoughts for a while has to be given some credit. I think I want to read whatever she writes next.

  4. I did read it, and I loved it, but I think mostly because it was entirely unlike anything I had come across in quite a while. I have to admit that while I’m a voracious reader, I don’t typically stray from my comfort zone genre-wise. So I think I was pleasantly surprised that I would enjoy the slightly weird pacing and slightly cold (or off-putting?) antagonist of what I’ve heard folks call a Victorian or gothic style book. Although I did love Jane Eyre, so maybe that counts for something?

    I don’t think I can put my finger on what it was exactly, but to echo Justin, I was left thinking about the story for some time after I was finished. That’s always a good thing.

    As for the Barbies, I didn’t have any plans to raid the niece’s stash, but hell, I guess I’m up for anything once. It’d be more fun that most book clubs!

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