Here it is after a bit of a delay. TheFive Lowest Rated Books according to GoodReads that I own: The 2020 Edition. Just a quick reminder. I got this idea from BooksandLala (Thanks, Lala!) on You Tube. Here is the link to her video. For this personal challenge, I used GoodReads to find the five lowest rated books that I owned and were on my TBR. (I also did this for the five highest rated books. Here’s the link to that wrap-up.) Then the pandemic happened and–yeah. All my best laid plans…. At the beginning of the year I decided to push through and not let 2020 defeat me. And so I finished the books. And this is the result.
All of the books ratings and review numbers reflect the status of the books on January 6, 2020. I should also mention that I picked books that had 100 or more ratings on GoodReads for this challenge. In this wrap-up for each book I mention why the book is on my shelf, why I agree or disagree with the GoodReads rating, and whether I recommend reading the book the book.
Okay, with all of that in mind, here’s the list:
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. Average Rating 2.69 Stars. 33,955 Ratings. 5,508 Reviews. I own a paperback copy I bought at Target.
I have had this book since 2009 & I bought it because I loved The Lovely Bones so much. I read the first page of this book and immediately put it aside and decided to try again another day. That first sentence put me off it, I think. Over the years I moved this book more than once (across the country in one instance) and still did not bother to read it. To try and get myself to finally read it I’ve put it on a number of to read lists for different reading challenges.
I’ve not really wanted to read this book, I think it’s clear. In fact, this is the last book I read for this challenge. Truthfully, I dreaded reading it. And I was right. I disliked this book. So much so that I DNF’d on page 92 of my copy (about 38% of the book). And the main reason is that the Mother and daughter are horrible and awful people that I hated so much. And I didn’t care why or what happened to either of them. So, in my opinion, it does deserve a low rating. I wouldn’t recommend this book, but there are a lot of readers who like this book a lot, according to GoodReads. So YMMV.
Whiskey by Bruce Holbert. Average Rating 2.83 Stars. 161 Ratings. 42 Reviews. I own a hard back that I got in a book box subscription.
This book is a surprise for me. It takes a chapter or two to get in to the story, but then BAM!It sucked me in. Like The Almost Moon the main characters–Smoker and Andre–and most of the supporting characters are awful, unlikable people. But unlike The Almost Moon and it’s main characters, I care about the two brothers and their quest to save one of the brother’s daughter. And the story is beautifully told. And it has some quirky elements that are not there to just be quirky. So, to my surprise, I completely disagree with the low rating. I gave it 4 Stars. In fact, I think it would be higher rated book IF it were more widely read and had more ratings. So, yes, if you haven’t read this book, I think that you should.
That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam. Average Rating 3.04 Stars. 5,035 Ratings. 756 Reviews. I own hard back copy that I got in a book box subscription.
I didn’t like this book. And I’m not surprised that the rating isn’t higher. Thereisn’t much of a plot, but that isn’t why I don’t like it. It’s not the main character, Rebecca. And she is unlikable, but for me that isn’t a deal breaker. I kept reading because Rebecca’s motivations are unclear or odd. And I was interested to find out how all of this turned out. Plus, the writing is lovely. But, like the other books on this list, I just don’t care about Rebecca or her reasons, ultimately. If you like books about motherhood you may enjoy this book more than I did.
Now You See Her by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Average Rating 3.11 Stars. 491 Ratings. 80 Reviews. I own paperback copy.
I picked this book up at an education conference more than ten years ago. That’s the fun bit about conferences, publishers give you books. So they put this in my hand & I brought it home. Like The Almost Moon I finally read it in 2020 and I must say I totally agree with the rating. And I agree with it because the book is so preachy. Why do so many young adult authors (and I think this is Jacquelyn Mitchard first YA/middle school novel?) think that they must preach to the kids? And, as with all the other books on this list, the main character Hope is awful. And I just didn’t care what happened to her. And I hated the preachiness of the novel. And I really hated those preachy novels when I was a kid and I think most kids do. I don’t recommend this at all.
Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale. Average Rating 3.12 Stars. 3,380 ratings. 653 Reviews. I own a Kindle copy.
I really disagree with the low rating of this book. At the same time, I do agree with many of the criticisms of this book on GoodReads: this isn’t a novel. It’s nonfiction. When I purchased this I thought it was a novelization of this woman’s story. It is not. Instead it’s an analysis/history of divorce laws and sexual mores of middle class in England in the mid 1800’s. It’s fascinating. The marketing for this book is bad and is the reason IMHO this book has such undeserved low ratings. If you are interested in women’s lives, marriages, and divorces in Victorian England, this book is for you.
I have to admit I was a bit surprised by how much I liked Whiskey and Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace. And very surprised how much I disliked the other three books on the list. As I looked at the reviews on GoodReads I found, for the most part, that for many of the readers who disliked these books, they hated the unlikable main characters and this is why they gave low ratings. But for me, it wasn’t the unlikable characters that made me dislike the book. For instance, I really like Whiskey and most of the characters in the book are truly awful people. For me what made the books unlikable and deserving of the low ratings is that I didn’t care about the characters and how their stories played out. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how well written the book is or how beautifully plotted it is. If I don’t care about the characters, I am done with the book.
Overall, I have found this challenge to be really interesting and helpful when it comes to thinking about why I do or do not like books. And I’ll really think about as I read the Highest/Lowest Rated books on GoodReads: 2021 edition. Yes, I’m doing this challenge again this year to help me get books off of my TBR. I’ll post this years lists soon.
What do you think about this list? Have you read any of the books on it? Do you agree or disagree with me or GoodReads about the books rating? Let me know in the comments below.
Happy reading, y’all!