Recently, I read a book that everyone raved about. Everyone loved. And I…didn’t. In fact, I had a really difficult time getting into it. Everyone talked about the amazing writing and I just wasn’t impressed.
I felt left out, like everyone I knew was invited to a party except me.
I started to wonder if I was missing something. Maybe the story had gone over my head. Maybe I was being too critical. Maybe I was too tired when I read and glossed over something vital that would have changed my mind. Maybe I didn’t really know what good looked like.
If I didn’t know what good was, how did that reflect in my own writing?
And the worst part…this was not the first time this had happened to me. I thought back and remembered other publicly beloved books that I had set back on my shelf after less than 100 pages without any desire to find out what happened next. Clearly, if this was a repeat occurrence, I couldn’t write it off as a fluke. There had to be something wrong with me, right?
Books aren’t one size fits all. It’s okay to dislike something everyone else likes. It’s okay to be different! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
That’s why demographics and target audiences exist. Sure, I like YA. But that doesn’t mean I like ALL YA. To be honest, I’m just not that into zombies. High fantasy usually doesn’t hook me. I tend to stay away from sad books unless I’m in a particular mood for them. But give me a swoony contemporary romance or a funny voice and I’m instantly drawn in. Others may be prefer something darker to exclamation points.
So when I hate a book everyone else loves, it’s not because I missed something and it’s not because I don’t know what good really is. It’s because my definition of good is not the same as anyone else’s definition.
My point is, it’s me, not the book. And that’s okay.