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Meanest One-Star Book Reviews on Goodreads

January 12, 2015

The Internet is a dangerous place, especially for writers. Just when you think you’ve produced a high-quality piece of writing, you can be sure an online reviewer will show up to put you back in your place. But don’t fret. All writers receive negative criticism at some point in their life, even if the piece they’ve created is original and well-crafted. Take a look at these one-star book reviews from Goodreads if you don’t believe me:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me – Mindy Kaling

1) Jialan – I’d like to coin a new word called “Kaling,” that describes an intelligent but deeply superficial (or is it superficially deep?) young woman who might attain real talent if her own vanity didn’t get in the way. Her book is lazy (much of it composed of lists of trite and unfunny observations), and dashes the reader’s hopes by offering glimpses of warmth and insight only to veer back into appalling self-absorption.

2) Terri – I… I tried. I tried to read this book. I guess I was hoping that a comedy writer would be, you know, funny. About the time she got into filling us all in on her tough years, you know, those years when you’ve just graduated from an elite and expensive private college and you’re just not sure how you’re going to make it to the big-time but then you DO, I quit making an effort to read the book and started trying to leave it behind places. I tried to leave it in three hotels and at my dad’s house, where it was found and carefully returned to me each time. “I don’t want that book,” I said. “I don’t want it either,” everyone returning it to me said.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

3) Shayne – Holden Caulfield is a punk-ass bitch. He doesn’t “embody cynical adolescence.” He embodies that dude you went to high school with, that was a dick to the study hall monitor for no reason, and liked to wipe his boogers on the bathroom wall while he peed in the urinal. I’d let Alex from A Clockwork Orange babysit my daughter before I’d spend a single minute with this over-hyped, chickenshit boy or the over-hyped, cherished-by-douches book with him as its star.
Skip this book. Just TELL people you read it. Here’s all you need to know: Holden says “goddam” a lot, gets kicked out of school, and wears a coonskin hat. Period. You’ll get by on that. Spend your time reading something worthwhile.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

4) Zeek – Halfway through and I don’t even care anymore. I’ll read the synopsis for the rest. If I want to read about shiftless rich people and their drunken machinations, I’ll read the Hollywood Reporter or TMZ.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

5) Gabrielle – Pathetic. Really pathetic. Harry Potter is more of a Mary-Sue than Eragon. More than Nancy Drew. More than the worst of fanfiction I’ve seen […]
Harry wasn’t any excuse for a hero. He did nothing, he just sat around and things happened to him. End of story. His fame was inherited, his fortune was inherited, he lived with his relations and allowed them to bully him, and couldn’t even manage to read his own mail. His wonderful skills were not worked at and studied for years but picked up instantly, and he bet the bad guys by electrocuting them with his infamous zapper skin […] This is a dangerous book. It made me consider both suicide and mass homicide, and it is definitely not suitable for children.

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

6) Jason – Ayn Rand makes my eyes hurt. She does this, not by the length of her six-hundred-thousand word diatribe, but rather by the frequency with which she causes me to roll them.

7) Rob – If you’re into sprawling, barely coherent, I-are-mighty anti-Communist rants, then this is for you. I suppose in our moments of weakness, we can look to Ayn Rand’s philosophy to bring out our inner-super-humans. Except that really it’s just a polarized response to Marx and Lenin (whom I have found equally unpalatable). What’s that? You want me to separate the aesthetic elements from the philosophy? Sure thing. This book reads like an instruction manual for drawing right angles.

8) Nick – Have you ever wondered what an author spending 565,223* words describing an empty cork board would produce? This would be the result**.
* According to Amazon.
** Also applicable to her other brick, ‘The Fountainhead.’

9) Books Ring Mah Bells – Atlas shrugged and so did I.

Bossypants – Tina Fey

10) Bert – Those two stars you see above? That’s me being generous. Very generous. I changed my mind, one star is more than enough […] Far too often this book feels like Tina Fey dumped a manuscript on a publisher’s desk and said “this will do” and no one dared to point out “well, not exactly…” In fact, I repeatedly had the impression she wrote the book against her will, as if it was some kind of contractual obligation.I don’t get why she bothered to write a book about herself, when she clearly doesn’t want to reveal anything — which she inevitably does anyway, even though those things are masked by feeble punchlines and meandering anecdotes.Biggest disappointments are the pages where she answers online criticism (pointless and sad) and those where she recounts her imitations of Sarah Palin (preposterously self-important).

Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace

11) Oren – I want to give it zero stars. This book is a giant pile of pretentious drivel. With a thousand pages and hundreds of endnotes (endnotes dammit! you need two bookmarks for this shit!) it’s a book full of promises that are never delivered. By the end it feels like a practical joke has been perpetrated on you and the appropriate response is to punch the author in the face. Seriously, it would be a mild response. I feel that assaulting him blows to the head with a copy of the book would be considered a justifiable attack.

12) William – I must be missing something. Each page is like hand-to-hand combat. Extremely hard to digest. Like a meal of twigs and berries, might be good for you, but you want to push it aside nevertheless.

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

13) Jeannette – The Mysterious Case of the Shrinking Rating!
Oh, kiddies. I don’t know where to start in describing my experience of this enormous hunk of enormousness. I came within less than 200 pages of finishing it, but I cannot go on.
A brief (and crabby) synopsis of my experience with this book:
First 200 pages = This is outrageously excellent! Five stars for sure.
Next 200 pages = Getting really sick of Theo and Boris and substance abuse. Four stars, but only if it improves soon.
Next 170+ pages = Drudgery. Author has written herself into a corner but trudges doggedly on. Three stars, dropping to two stars, and finally 1.5 stars because I cannot force myself to finish. The days go by, I’m reading 8 or 10 pages a day at most. I hate the characters, hate the book, and come to hate the author because she took 10 years to write a book and wants us to take another 10 years to read it.

Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

14) Robert – Dickens is a jerk. Nobody likes his stuff, they’re just afraid to say it because he’s supposed to be classy. The man got paid by the word for crying out loud. Imagine if I got paid to write marching band drill by the dot. I would write a page for every four counts of music. What would I produce? A ridiculous tomb that nobody will ever get through and if they ever did it would be way too hard and too much work. And of course if you actually did it you would have to say that I was wonderful, otherwise, you’d look like an idiot. Like when you buy a new car and somebody asks if you are happy with it; nobody says “no, I just spend 30 grand on a pile of crap”. Thus concludes my critique on Dickens. Those of you young enough can feel free to plagiarize it for you college essays.

15) Chickens McShiterson – Once upon a time, there was a lumberjack named Paul. Paul and his crew worked in the Pacific Northwest in some of the most lush forests in America. Paul’s job was to run a chainsaw, and it was arduous work filled with long hours and danger. Paul loved his job and took great pride in knowing that his work helped provide lumber for homes, heating systems, and occasionally, the manufacture of books. Of this last facet, Paul was particularly proud because he was a voracious reader who took literature seriously- a love instilled in him by his high school English teachers. After one particularly strenuous day, in which Paul and his crew labored to fulfill an order for pulping for a book manufacturer, Paul ventured to ask his boss if he happened to know what book was going to be produced with the wood they had chopped down.
“Why, yes I do, Paul,” said the book manufacturer, much to Paul’s surprise. “Says here that this wood will be pulped to make a hundred thousand copies of Great Expectations.
Distraught, nay, overwhelmed with immediate grief for his part in the massacre of dozens, if not hundreds of trees for the production of THE WORST BOOK IN THE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, Paul immediately revved the motor of his chainsaw and promptly cut his own head off.
The End.

Twilight – Stephanie Meyer

16) Kira – The caveman/cavewoman mentality between both parties is absolutely painful. As painful as the throb of purple prose encased between these heinously far-apart covers, and the dreadful fragments and inconsistent style of Meyer’s writing. It’s ludicrous, really. This book is not a book. It is a really, really long Facebook status. It’s a little gimmick that’s gotten out of hand.
Who remembers the absolutely awful “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them” fad? That’s kind of what Twilight is like. A really fucked-up piece of sexist rubbish that spiraled into a phenomenon when really it belongs in the garbage can where no one will ever look at it ever again, ever […] No. I’d rather read the back of a cereal box than this book. I’d rather read the ingredients of my shampoo than slog through this again. It would be far less offensive and morally damaging, not to mention infuriating. I believe I aged ten years during my first failed attempt at wading through the Twilight quicksand.

17) TK421 – I would not even wipe my ass with this book for fear it (my ass) would get shittier.

War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

18) Phil Villareal – Reading this was utter misery from end to end. This is in a class with Moby-Dick and A Tale of Two Cities, among the least readable, universally lauded classics that normal people read only out of sheer hatred and determination.
Tolstoy is like a kindergartener talking about his day. He has a keen eye and feel for detail, but no ability to distinguish between what is relevant and compelling and what isn’t.

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

19) ChucklestheScot – Worst book I’ve ever had the misfortune to pick up. My dad warned me that this book was lower on the evolution scale than a wet turd, but I thought I’d try it anyway. I hated this with every fibre in my body and with any luck the book will just crawl away and die.
The characters were obnoxious, moronic gits who I hoped would all die at the hands of Jason Vorhees very soon and there was no way I’d ever connect with that idiot who was meant to be our beloved hero. The dialogue was incomprehensible crap that was pointless and baffling, and you are left wondering what the hell they are gibbering about and why each scene was even written! What the hell is the purpose in talking complete shite page after page with no meaning or sense to it??? I couldn’t see the point in the story at all and it was with a sense of joy that I threw the book into the bag marked ‘charity shop’-then I found myself wondering what the poor charity shop had ever done to me to deserve receiving that book…How the hell this ever became a classic is a complete mystery to me. A classic piece of excrement perhaps.

The Shining – Stephen King

20) Sologdin – Custodial staff of one-percenter resort commits grave breaches of employment agreement, including fraternization, by failing to keep grounds free and clear of supernatural deterioration.

Not all of these books are “classic” or even good. I tried to show a range of different types of stories to prove that anyone, no matter how good (or bad) of a writer they are, can receive negative criticism. Don’t take it personally. People are mean sometimes.

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