While I am slowly coming to the point in my reading life where I feel ok about putting a book down that I’m not enjoying, I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I can do this with a book whose author I really respect.
I recently read About Grace by Anthony Doerr, and looking back on the experience, it probably should have been one of those books I stopped reading – but Doerr’s ability to write something as exquisite as All the Light We Cannot See convinced me to carry on. Unfortunately, it lacked all of the beauty and captivation of All the Light. Instead the book felt predictable, the themes felt tired, the characters didn’t intrigue or delight me, and I spent much of the final third skim reading just to get to the end. (Skim reading is a new thing for me – I like to think of it as my gateway technique to quitting bad books.)
I think the fact that I chose to skim read rather than just quit also had something to do with the fact that while I didn’t care overly about what was happening, I did care enough to want to know what happened at the end.
Despite this mostly negative review, I certainly didn’t hate the book, it by no means elicited the kind of reaction that The Longest Ride did. And, to be fair, it was up against some tough competition, seeing as I read it straight after Station Eleven and The Princess Bride (both of which I LOVED). But it was really disappointing given the feels I know Doerr is capable of providing – let’s just hope All the Light wasn’t some weird fluke.