Thursday, August 13, 2009


Okay, I was going to finish up 27 Things, but something called vacation happened, meaning I didn't get around to it. I thought about it. Really, I did! I did! I had visions of nanos dancing in my head. However, I had to go visit my family, which was surprisingly relaxing. Maybe it was because I was staying with one of my brothers. It's so much easier to stay with my male relatives than with my female relatives. It likely has something to do with me feeling free to change what I wanted while I was there. My sisters might have gotten offended had I come to their homes and changed their decor (though I am invited to come clean whenever I'm in the mood), but my brother barely blinked when I explained that his bath mat didn't match his shower curtain, and therefore I had bought him a new coordinating one and proceeded to fill his house with other accessories I deemed necessary for my stay, such as matching kitchen towels, the Animatrix and the Matrix Trilogy. (The whole set was on sale for only $10! Who can beat that?)

So I didn't finish up on time. My brother, newly moved into his apartment, had no Internet connection (which I only advise you try out if you like the people you are staying with). I barely even got close to any electronic device unless you count the times I tried to pry the cell phone out of one of my nephew's hands. But I figured since I can't complete my assignments until next week, I might as well use this blog to discuss an important topic that has been bugging me for a while:

Horrible books.

I am not what one would call a book snob. I can't afford to be because I'm a Sci-Fi fan. And Sci-Fi fans can get really, really weird. But there are some books and movies that I hate, hate, hate! (Tyler Perry better hope he never runs into me in a dark alley because it is on!) However, there is one book I completely loathe, and lately it's been bugging me that people ask for it, so I have chosen to use this forum to get my feelings off my chest.

The Giving Tree is the worst book in the world.

For those of you who have never read the Giving Tree, don't check it out. It will just give it more circulation. I'm not even going to link you to it.

I hate it that much.

I'll save you the time and give you the summary: it's about a (female) tree with low self-esteem who so wants affection she is willing to let a male literally cut her down if that's what makes him happy. I'm surprised the tree doesn't just flat out ask, "Why won't you love me?" The male is dissatisfied with life, and instead of realizing he needs therapy (or a personality transplant), the tree keeps offering things to keep him appeased. Which was fine when she was just offering him apples. But he wasn't satisfied with only the apples. He needed more. At this point a smart tree would have told the male, "Maybe you should go play inside for a while." But, like a lot of naive women out there, she's offering him her branches ...

And the keys to her car even though she knows his license is suspended and he has no insurance.

Still, he remains unhappy. This was the perfect time for the tree to tell him, "You know, this just isn't working out," or "Perhaps you should see other shrubbery." Even a not-so-smart tree would have said, "We need to talk," which will scare off 9 out of 10 men (or 999 out of every 1000 if you combine this with shutting off the TV). Instead the tree offers the male even more of herself. She gives, and gives, and gives. He takes, and takes, and takes. Why? Because this is what we do when someone offers you something with no strings attached. Don't believe me? Observe the sample table action at CostCo. At the end, the tree is nothing but a stump, abandoned long ago by the male she gave everything to, and then the grumpy troll of a man comes back, and for some stupid reason, she's happy. I don't know why she's happy...wait, I do know why!!!!!

It's because she's pathetic.

When I see the guy who almost blew up my house and me along with it, do I jump for joy? Heck no! I look at him and think, "He tried to kill me! I hate him! I hate him! And I still don't have a microwave over my stove!" Do I invite him over and say, "Look at the big empty spot you left in my kitchen! Isn't it great how I can hear outside without opening the patio door? Oh, and PG&E was nice enough to patch that leak in my gas line." Nope. We're on waiving terms, meaning we waive when there are witnesses around while I secretly plot his death.

Okay, now it's no longer a secret.

But this's like she's suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. "There he is! The guy who completely destroyed me! How wonderful!" She welcomes him with open arms...

Oh, that's right.

She can't.

Because he cut them off.

I know, there are some of you out there who think this is a wonderful book, or that I'm reading too much into it. And most likely if you think it's a wonderful book you probably have a Y chromosome. Several men have told me they just love this book. Which is great to know up front, because this is my cue to leave while I'm ahead. It's on my list of questions to ask early on along with, "Do you think Hawaii is part of the United States?" and, "What's your FICO score?"

Now that I have gotten this off my chest, it's your turn. What is the worst book you have ever read? What makes it so freakin' horrible? Here's some 80s music to listen to while figure out which book gives you nightmares or makes you so mad you wish they could reimburse you for the time it took to read it.


  1. Okay, I started out saying "Awww..." and plotting how to prove you wrong. I have a sentimental attachment to The Giving Tree from way back, but haven't actually read it in a decade or more. I saw it as being about a mom -always giving, giving, giving to her kids - who were always taking, taking, taking. And that used to seem lovely to me... But OMG - you're right!Thanks for opening my eyes - and also giving us some laughs. Now that the scales have fallen from my eyes, I'm thinking about what OTHER books I can loathe now...

  2. I used to like that book. And I even think I have a copy, though it's been years since I read it. But after your analysis, I may just have to change my view.

  3. I'm happy I have converted a few of you. My work here is done...

    Okay, I admitted I hate this book. There have to be some titles you guys completely loathe, hint, hint.

  4. I never really thought about the Giving Tree like that probably because I first encountered it in a religious context (Catholic high school retreat if I recall.

    My worst book nominee was JAWS by Peter Benchley. I couldn't get past the first few pages because it was so poorly written. Second worst was Silence of the Lambs- well written but I couldn't put it down and it gave me nightmares for two years.

  5. I agree on The Giving Tree. I always thought it was an illustration of co-dependency myself! As for what book I hate, I will give you two: 1) Wuthering Heights. which is full of awful people doing awful things through the generations 2)Little Women, which has a story that just plain WRONG in every single way possible. Strange, I know, but there it is.

  6. Isn't there something wrong with most older books? There's just something about them...the mute suffering, the butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth women who are the heroines. I'm sure if these women had lived today they wouldn't be nice and sweet. They'd be in jail for killing the husbands they put through grad school who in turn dumped them for teenaged office temps.

    Silence of the Lambs was a pretty freaky read, but the movie gave us such great sayings! There's nothing like someone mentioning some fava beans and a nice chianti. Haven't read Jaws. But there is a book based movie that haunted me a bit. SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! I read the Poseidon Adventure. In the beginning the ship flips over and the people are told to stay where they were. Of course one group doesn't listen and they go off. But unlike the movie, when they are rescued, they see all the other people who followed directions were already rescued. It was such a punch in the gut, but then I saw a documentary on TLC in which the same thing happened to a bunch of stranded college hikers when most stayed put and a small group went off in search of extended trauma and hospital stays.