I am incredibly biased in the way that when someone starts dissing a book that I found brilliant, I want to sit down with them, and the book, and hash out everything they hated about it and teach them how to appreciate the concepts, the writing, if not the story. Having said that, I feel the need to lay out my dilemma-of-the-moment.
I fell in love with the book Feed in my senior year of high school, somewhere about November 2006. When I started reading it, it was incredibly frustrating. For starters, the whole book is written in the slang of the characters, which is difficult to catch on to. It’s like trying to read a book in chatspeak. But somewhere between the lesions and Violet, I totally fell for the book (closer to Violet, I think, than the lesions…). The ideas in it are so frighteningly possible, and interesting, and the characters could be any one of us, or our cousins, or children.
It’s difficult for me to explain why I like Feed without too many spoilers, so I will go into the reason why I am posting this. My younger brother is currently in the class I took when I read this book, and, unsurprisingly, he is reading it and has called it “undoubtedly the worst book [he] has ever read.” Left at that, it doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, because lets face it – he’s only read the Deltora Quest series, To Kill A Mockingbird (barely), and the first two Artemis Fowl books (they were getting “too long” for him to continue). It was the throes of comments on his Facebook status about it that made me angry, and deeply disappointed.
End of story.“
“It’s basically taking a clockwork orange and compressing it into a book“
“It doesn’t get better, either. It just gets worse. >.<“
“the underlaying theme of the book: TEKNOULEGY R BAAD! GO EMVIRONMANT! WOOO!“
And I wrote a long paragraph to defend the book, and rationally decided to delete it because something I have learned about high schoolers and arguing with them is that they are always right, even when they are wrong, and even when it is not a contest of correctness. I left a brief comment, basically saying I liked it (oh, maybe five minutes ago) and I’ve already been accosted for that. Honestly, I have never felt more judged for my interests in books than on Facebook. It makes me miss Ashley and Caitlyn, who – even when we didn’t agree – were more than happy to let me enjoy it instead of making me feel like I’m a bad person for enjoying it.
It also makes me sad, because (per Facebook statuses of the high schoolers I have worked with) I am noticing that the high schoolers instantly hate all books they are told to read, simply because they don’t have the choice (even those who, in their free time, enjoy reading). I hope desperately that it’s just the group that I work with, but I doubt it. Maybe it’s a push against authority, but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen blatant force against a book based entirely on opinions, coupled with an apparently inability to find even a single good thing about it. If you ask people to think of one, just one, good thing about a book, either they will refuse, or else they will say something they find witty like “burning it.”
I feel like such an intellectual snob sometimes.
Why do people always have to be right? I feel like it’s book extremists and fanatics who scare away potential readers sometimes (yes, even the Pott-heads).