“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Let me preface this post by saying that if you read "Redemption" by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley and loved it, you may not want to read this post. If you choose to do so anyway, please don't be offended. I know several people who have read this and loved it. I just don't happen to be one of them.

"Redemption" is the first of a series of five books, which is followed by several more related series. The co-worker who lent me this book was sure that I, like she and several other co-workers, would devour it and not be able to stop reading until I had completed the entire line of books. I did read it quickly, but unfortunately it was less like devouring it, and more like reading it as quickly as possible in the way you might quickly swallow a piece of liver just to avoid having to taste it as it went down.

The writing style was okay – similar to a lot of other books I've read in the same genre. I have definitely read worse writing than this book.

Just a warning here: I'm not going to give any specific spoilers, but I will say some things at this point that might be considered general spoilers.

By the time I was halfway through the book, not a single good thing had happened. It was simply a series of tragedies or setups for future tragedies, one after another. A little past the halfway point something good happened – the redemption from which the book gets its title. And then everything fell apart and the rest of the book was filled with more tragedies.

Within the first few chapters of the book, I had an idea of where it was headed and my mind had formulated a possible ending. But surely, I thought, they wouldn't actually end the book that way. It was so obvious, so predictable, so cheap. I kept hoping throughout the book that it would not end that way, even though it was clearly being set up that way. They ended the book exactly the way I feared they might, just a few chapters into the book.

So, now I will have to find a way to explain to my co-worker that I do not want to read the rest of the series without sounding like I am criticizing her taste in books. That's the hard thing about reading books recommended by other people. Books are so personal. If you love a book, it's wonderful to be able to share your thoughts about the story and discuss with a friend what it meant to you. But if you don't, it is so hard to say so without hurting their feelings.

What do you do when you read a book that someone else loved, but don't like it yourself?

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