Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Worst Book of 2011

As this year is drawing to a close I pause to dwell on all I learned, saw, tasted, experienced, listened to and read. My brain was transported to far-away vistas by the likes of Clive Barker, Neil Gaimen, Rick Ridoran, Joyce Carol Oates, Phillip Pullman, Sherman Alexie, Roddy Doyle, Jeffrey Eugenides, Colm Toibin, Edna O'Brian, Francesca Lia Block, and many more besides. But instead of detailing the good books I read I wanted to talk about the absolute worst. 
Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi is by far the most atrocious book of 2011. The book is a sappy, over the top romance, thinly disguised as a dystopian novel. "We" have done "something" to the earth and now the "Reestablishment" rules the world. 

The main character, Juliette, is a mary-sue character suffering from, what I like to call, "Bella Swan Syndrome." She is a special snowflake who doesn't know she's gorgeous, she is a whiny do-nothing, she constantly complains, and all the boys love her. I won't dwell much on the "plot" because I don't want to ruin the book. Instead I will focus on the literary shortcomings. Mafi uses inappropriate passive voice. The punctuation in the book is inconsistent. It is littered with fragment sentences. She also uses a nauseating amount of strikethrough.  

Clearly the writing of a sane person. 

Mafi's metaphors are both unintelligible and long winded, "I'm dripping red paint on the carpet." What does that mean? Also, instead of describing a character as black, Mafi says they have "chocolate" features. 
The author personifies every inanimate object within reach. And Juliette, who narrates, uses a boatload of similes to describe herself. 

At one time or another Juliette's body parts are: a lump of nonsense, a crepe, a reptile, a maze of impossibility, a handful of hot butter, a race horse, mush, a Venus fly trap, chips of ice, windows, a whisper that never was, a shaky pen, a water balloon, and a piece of pavement being trampled to death. 

Now, here are the worst, least literary lines from the "book." 

"There aren't as many trees as there were before, is what the scientists say."

"I am a raindrop. My parents emptied their pocket of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab." 

"These words are my vomit. This shaky pen is my esophagus. This sheet of paper is my porcelain bowl." 

"I wish I could stuff my mouth full of raindrops."

"I think you look rather lovely with all your body parts intact." 

"His lips are two pieces of frustration pressed together." 

"The dining room is big enough to feed thousands of orphans." 

"I want to bury my tears in a bucket of regret." 

"The sun is...redirecting its warmth in our general direction."

"His gaze is...two buckets of river water at midnight. I'd like to cry into his eyes." 

"He's more wrong than an upside-down rainbow." 

"I'm blushing through my bones." 

"Truth is a jealous, vicious mistress that never, ever sleeps, is what I don't tell him." 

"I realize I'm paying attention to nothing but the dandelions blowing wishes in my lungs." 

"He's accompanied by no one." 

If you, like me, enjoy reading terrible books to mock the terrible writing; Shatter Me can be purchased here
I really recommend the book if you like overwrought metaphors, no character development and hot teens! Also this will be the first in a series and the movie rights were purchased by Fox. Soon I'll be able to bash this story across platforms!

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