A few weeks ago I made my Top 5 Highest Rated Books on my Goodreads which was a lot of fun to find out, and I decided to do the opposite ie. the lowest rated books on Goodreads that I’ve read. I feel a lot of these might be popular books, since more people have heard of them and therefore more likely to pick them up. That’s just my speculation before diving in so let’s see! As previously I will link to my original reviews as I will only be giving a very quick summary here.
This is a retelling of the Lizzie Borden case which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize when it was released. And right off the bat, my thoughts align with the people of Goodreads. There were aspects that I enjoyed or admired about the writing but the whole reading experience left me cold. The chapters told by the sisters were also well done, but the inclusion of a third, outside narrator seemed utterly pointless. If told strictly from the siblings’ perspectives, it would have been a much tighter novel. I know a lot of people loved See What I Have Done but it just didn’t work for me.
This is the story of two friends Alice and Lucy, and what happens when Lucy suddenly shows up in Tangier to visit Alice and her husband John. This is a psychological thriller with undertones of Patricia Highsmith; something that was pushed in the publicity campaign. In a strange way, this is the exact opposite of See What I Have Done; I wasn’t keen on the writing – there were a couple of clunkers in there – but overall it was OK. Some aspects were disappointing but Mangan seems like a promising writer. Maybe because I read it whilst on holiday, but it does seems like a good beach read you could get lost in.
This is another one I am blaming on the Women’s Prize; it made it to their shortlist in 2017. In this slim volume, we explore the relationships our narrator has had over the years, especially her mother and husband Edwyn. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Not in this case as the more I think of First Love the more it irritates me. The relationship between the narrator and Edwyn felt mentally abusive; it was unbelievable that the blurb was touting this as love. That whole aspect soured the entire book, even if I did think the mother/daughter relationship was interesting and worth exploring. The narrator herself also is nothing to write home about; looking back I can’t remember a single personality trait of hers. How this made the shortlist I’ll never know.
Alice works as a translator for American forces in Seoul when her boss announces that movie legend Marilyn Monroe is visiting for a four day tour. The novel follows Alice’s job as Monroe’s translator for her trip, as well as Alice’s life before and during the war. This was a really enjoyable read. Obviously I initially picked the book as I am a big fan of Monroe, though she isn’t in it an awful lot. That was a little disappointing at first, but Alice was such a fascinating character that I didn’t mind by the end. It was nice to see her develop as a person throughout the book. There is a love triangle which didn’t exactly work but overall it was an interesting read about a dark period of time and an interesting take on an icon.
Taking the top spot for lowest rated book on my Goodreads (undeservedly) is M for Mammy. I say undeservedly as I remember quite liking it at the time and there are plenty more deserving candidates for number one (*cough* First Love). M for Mammy is about the Augustt family; the mother has various health problems, son Jacob doesn’t speak, and father Mickey seems to be struggling with life in general. It did at times feel as though O’Reilly was perhaps trying to cram too much into the novel; there are a lot of characters to wade through. Yet it had a lot of heart in it, and you really connect to the family. This one is for people who enjoy family dramas.
And that is it; my top 5 lowest rated books. Other than First Love I wasn’t expecting any of these; I also thought more popular books would have wangled their way onto the list. Given more people reading them, I thought they would have a more mixed reception. As it is, out of the 5 I enjoyed 2 of them and they aren’t bad books in the least. Flawed yes, but still worth reading if you like the author and/or genre. I can also understand why some of the books – namely See What I Have Done and Tangerine – have mixed reviews. Again they weren’t necessarily for me, but perhaps others may appreciate them more.
Let me know what is the lowest rated book on Goodreads you have read!