You Can’t Please Everyone – To Kill a Mockingbird

I just finished rereading To Kill a Mockingbird and I was curious to see how many one star reviews there were for it on Amazon. (58 in case you’re wondering) And since it’s a slow blog day I thought it would be neat to have a new section added called You Can’t Please Everyone and every so often pick a classic book or movie and list some of the reviews of people who have absolutely hated it. All of these are from Amazon and all of them are one star reviews for To Kill a Mockingbird.

Looking for a sappy, cliched, novel to read? One predictable as most young-adult books and more degrading than harlequin romances? Well, To Kill a Mockingbird is your book. In this novel, all Harper Lee gives as a theme is “life isn’t fair.” I think most of us couold have figured that out without a book that should have started where the first “part” ended. Ms. Lee merely portrays a terrible, biased, southern society that seemingly places its main goal on ruining everyone elses life. Her female characters are flat, simple-minded women. Wether or not this is due to its setting is irrelevant. Lee places guilt on a group of people instead of individuals (the Ewells) as it should be. Thank God Ms. Lee only wrote this book; surely her next would degrade society even further. I’m sure it too would be deemed a classic as long as it dealt with politically correct subjects that are far too worn out to remain interesting.

This book is lacking creativity of chacters and of imagination of plot.Harper Lee has written a 281 page documentory of nothing. It uses unutterable words and displeasing language. I waw required to read this book and hope I will never have to read it again. It is a slow unresearched peice of literature that has been overated for years.

This book is the worst book in the world. I read half way through the book and gave up because it made no sence

Now I’m not one of those negative people that go around bashing everything just for the pleasure of making everyone else miserable, so please do not make that assumption. I was made to read this book for and English class and I absolutely hated it! I’m not rascist at all, so don’t make that assumption either. The whole time I was reading this I kept thinking how much this whole thing sounds like it was written by a 5th grader! Not just when the kids were speaking either. The writing style overall just seemed very juvenile to me. This “great American classic” just seemed to be replaying the old boring rascism vs. humanity theme that we’ve all seen time and time and time again. But this time it just has an even dumber ending! Everyone says how “deep” this novel is and how much thought it takes to really know and love the story. When actually, there are only a few tiny little moments when you have to know on your own what’s really going on and decide for yourself. The plot goes absolutely nowhere! Yes a few things change, but by the end of the story, basiclly the same thing is happening that was happening when the story first begins! This novel was BORING! Not because I don’t understand it, but because it has a lack of any real depth to it at all. It was about as inspirational and moving as “The Cat in the Hat”.

I never received this book. Today is July 20,2008. It was ordered back in June.

This book, written by Harper Lee, is some-what interesting. I don’t like it that much, becuase there is to much drama. The main reason I read it is because my teacher made our class read it for a grade and I really do not need a F on my report card. It’s full of rasism, and takes place a Long time ago in a small town in Alabama. I would recommend it to people who are addicted to drama.

Pretty darn boring, if it wasn’t required to read in English i would’ve burned it. This type of book isnt for everyone.

Well, at least it was in my own language. Otherwise, it sucked. It was the same old, same old plot. Maybe Lee originated it, but that doesn’t matter. Once you have read one book like this one, you have read them all. A classic american piece of caca

Although the author had some good points, I must say that this book sucked a big fat one star. I thought it was horribly thought out and it was considerably a snoozer. I seriously feel asleep readin this. I advise and suggest that nobody dare pick up this book. You may die of boredom.

This is not great literature, and I avoid teaching it at all costs. It’s not even good. The characters are black and white two-dimensional cardboard cutouts. The rednecks are evil, the blacks are victims, and the self-righteous Atticus is too good to be true. There is nothing here to examine or explore. Critical thinking skills need not be applied for understanding. Moreover, if the lack of complexity and verisimilitude doesn’t stick in your craw, then the insipid narration of the androgynous Scout will. This novel is popular due, in part, to the fact that the reader can feel morally superior to white trailor trash as he identifies with the demigod, Atticus. Shakespeare, the consummate craftsmen of characterization, understood that even the evil (save Iago) have some redeeming qualities, and the good flaws. To Kill a Mockingbird is about as deep as a rain puddle.

It was the worst book I have ever read. Please do not buy this book!!

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of the most overrated and hyped books of our time. It’s an uneven paste-job of short stories and pieces by Harper Lee promoted by her liberal New York publishing friends.

Some sections are absurd, such as Ch. 26, where third-grade students in a rural Alabama school in 1935 have a discussion about Adolph Hitler’s treatment of Jews in Germany.

Without the compelling 1962 film version, this novel might have been forgotten by now.

seriouly bad. there is no main plot, its just short stories all stuck toghether, the characters are unbelivible, the writing is boring. i had to read it in english, and found it so boring. the main story about the trial, finishes half way through the book so after that its just little boring stories about scout and jem. not a good book, nothing happens interesting.

to me to kill a mockingbird was kinda wreid, because at the beging of the book they wanted to get Boo radley to come out of his house. they thought he was a scary old man that was a mad man who stabed his dad in the leg. then they did all these thing to get him out of the house. i didnt like the book though because all the bad things that they do. and how the town people are crule to one another back then.

I can see why some people enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird. It is very vocal about certain issues in life. I was completely bored reading this book. Although I liked Scout and Jem, I was not excited to read about a young girl’s life in a small town. It seemed like a small plot and was not planned well. A court case is hardly a thrilling idea.

I’m sorry everyone. I don’t see why this book is so fabeulos. I would give it a zero. I find no point in writing a book about segregation, there’s no way of making it into an enjoyable book. And yes i am toataly against segragation. I’ve caught my self in english class asleep. Also if your gonna write a book, give more detail please. I’m getting so fed up with it i just got the cliff notes. Read this book if you read every book that is such a hit. But rather than that burn all the pages exept the last chapter. Thanks to all my friendswho had to tourchure threw reading this disgrace and supporting me in not likeing the book. By the way, DO NOT BUY, because if i find it in your house i won’t think to kindly of you.

This book is very nasty. It depicts scenes I would not care to see if I was being PAID. It’s just a sick book. Dont read it, kids

30 Comments

  1. I see a website here – Great Works Disparaged. One star reviews of classic literature, ground-breaking music etc…

  2. I like this Amazon review of the bible:

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    This book is not for sale, November 25, 2007
    By John A. Simms (Wilmington, DE USA) – See all my reviews

    Gideon bibles are not published for sale. This bible was probably stolen
    from a hotel.

  3. This is a funny idea. Almost EVERYTHING is hated by somebody. Look up Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”, considered a jazz classic, but not by everyone on amazon.com :).

  4. Doesn’t matter what it is – there will always be the curve breaker douche who must 1 star something.

    But these reviews were humorous.

  5. Why do people who hate literature have an amazing capacity to murder the English language? Bad spelling, bad grammar, bad typing…

    Sheesh.

    Okay, I’m not the world’s best but make an effort people! Super-Sheesh!

  6. To put it in the words of the late Wachowski brothers: The problem is choice.

    A lot of reading goodwill is destroyed by forcing young kids to read certain books in English class. The book’s conceptual bliss can be completely lost on a person with little reading experience.

    Seriously, they should let them read something fast, fun and easy and spare the heavy message for an ethics class.

    There are books, some of the best, that are best enjoyed if you choose to read them. You can’t force culture down someone’s throat.

  7. Well it seems most reviewers are high school kids who were forced to read it and who can’t fucking write proper English.
    But I do agree on not forcing culture down kids’ throats.

  8. Lumpi: I’d imagine that was pretty much every kids experience at high school. In middle school we were given Anne McCaffrey for compulsory reading, which kicked off my geekdom. Junior and senior year (equivalent) we were given rotten english gothic romance (because it was an all girls school, so they thought “female protag who weeps herself to death = teh awesome rise of feminism!”) which made me want to tear my brain out through my eyeballs.

    It’s taken me years to work up the courage to return to “classic” literature. They should have been giving us Oscar Wilde or Sylvia Plath, much more relevant to our generation.

  9. Julia S – I’m pretty sure that’s not a coincidence 😉
    Oddly enough, I was forced to read a number of superb books in school which I abhored at the time, but I now realize are absolutely amazing. It’s bizarre how drastically my perspective changed between the ages of 17 and 21, but the weird thing is how specific my preferences were (which leads me to think that it wasn’t a lack of general awareness or comprehension, but some lack of maturity or life experience). When I was 11 I loved Steinbeck’s Great Depression novels like The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden (still my favorite book), Inherit the Wind and anything by Michener, but it took me years to develop an appreciation for things like The Stone Angel [although I’m not sure if that book is so well-known outside of Canada] and Death of a Salesman. I used to think that high school teachers were insane to make us read stuff like A Streetcar Named Desire, Wuthering Heights, The Glass Menagerie or plays by Ibsen and Chekhov, but now it sort of makes sense since some of those take years to percolate in your head and actually mean something. But for the record, I still hate A Streetcar Named Desire. HATE it. They made us watch the Marlon Brando movie version, too, which did NOT help. At all.

  10. Kids will bitch about having to read anything. Part of the purpose of an English class is to expose kids to books they may not normally pick up. I had my fair share of books I hated in high school, but I also read some I never would have picked up at the time and loved like the Grapes of Wrath.

  11. Julia and lumpi both have it on the nose with this. It also makes me not trust a bad review if it’s chock full of misspellings. Okay, one or two I can take (depending on length), but if you can’t fucking write your way into a coherent, grammatically correct expression of your thoughts, why the fuck should I give a rat’s ass what you think?

    And yes, my wife is an English teacher and she is always having this battle with some of her (mostly) older colleagues who are more concerned with exposing kids to “the classics” than inspiring the kids to just enjoy reading. Not everyone needs to read Beowulf, as much as it pains my inner English major to write that. The difference between me and someone who only reads bad books is decently smaller than the distance between me and someone who reads no books at all.

    I’ll take the Dannielle Steele fan over the person who won’t read a single book. At least one of these people is reading.

    I don’t know how many people I know who say something along the lines of “Oh man, I hated Heart of Darkness when I read it in high school. Then when I went back and read it for myself when I was in my twenties I loved it.” And these teachers are always trying to get kids to read things like Death of a Salesman, which great as it is just isn’t relative to the lives of kids who routinely miss the point. They’ve never spent years of their lives doing something, only to secretly believe that they’ve wasted their best years. It’s a devastating thing to come to terms with and there’s just no way a fifteen year old can grasp that.

  12. They’ve never spent years of their lives doing something, only to secretly believe that they’ve wasted their best years.

    Huh? They’re at school, aren’t they?

  13. Ha @outeast, but I meant for real, doing something and thinking you were making a difference or succeeding and then coming to terms with the fact that you’re a failure and you’ve failed at what you wanted to be in your life and now it’s too late to do anything to change course.

    No way a 15 year old gets that. Not even an 18 year old. Somebody might be selling the idea that they do, but I ain’t buying.

  14. Most high school English classes in Southern California (all I can speak for) try to combine literature with relevance. But “To Kill a Mockingbird” is relevant as long as we have any racial animosity. And we still have way too much.

  15. Well, to make things clear: I do not deny the relevance of certain books, I just think before you can start bothering what kind of book a young person reads, you should make sure to motivate them to read at all.

    In a more abstract class, you wouldn’t, for example, teach differential equation before you made sure the students know basic multiplication.

  16. I think part of what kills books in English class is not the age of the reader but the beating-to-death analysis you are forced to put up with in class. I loved “Death of a Salesman” as a teenager, despite the fact that I couldn’t properly grasp its depth, but I read it outside of class before they got to it in school. “The Great Gatsby”, read for the first time in English class, is something I still can’t get myself to pick up again today because I associate it with pointless English assignments.

    Every one of my English teachers had a talent for sucking any enjoyment out of a book. It’s hard to love a book that you’ve been forced to parse through to find 10 similes per chapter, write a poem about the main character, draw a pivotal scene, and find twenty passages that relate to the theme of “hubris”. I love to read. I hated English class.

  17. I thought two of the reviews were actually pretty accurate and thoughtful. Of course, there’s no accounting for taste, but as someone who teaches TKAM, I happen to think that two of the reviews have validity.

    They are the 10th and 12th down from the top; the first one begins, “This is not great literature…”

  18. Was that a one-star review, Fred? Maybe Chris could do a special feature of one-star reviews of ‘You Can’t Please Everyone’… although then the Internet might implode.

  19. Personal theory of my mother’s: Norman Mailer, who happens to be Ms. Lee’s cousin, either wrote this at a young age and wanted it published or for some other reason did not want it published in his name. Nothing in Harper Lee’s prior background or subsequent personal history really suggests a capability to put forth a work of this sort of depth, your love or loathing for the writing style notwithstanding.

    I have not researched it sufficiently to laugh too hard, but she apparently lived in the same town as Ms. Lee (who, of course, would have been nowhere her age and is notoriously reclusive (which could, honestly, support the argument)) for some time, so I give her the merest benefit of the doubt,

  20. Darn, no edit function. There is a copy of The Naked and the Dead on my desk, which put me in mind of Mailer.

    Truman Capote was a relative or longtime friend of Lee’s, not Norman Mailer ( who I doubt spent any more time in Alabama than he could help).

  21. I came here because I was trying to see if anyone had ever given a bad review of the book. Lo and behold, they have. But as has already been mentioned, most of them don’t have even the slightest grasp on the English language so I’m not surprised they didn’t “get” the book. I don’t buy the argument that it wasn’t deep enough or there was no character development. Some things just are what they are and this is simply a classic and timeless story.

  22. I thought it was a BRILLIANT book and I have pity on those of you who don’t have enough sense to appreciate it like it deserves. And it makes perfect sense – and even if it didn’t, people should enjoy the mystery of it all. Clearly you all have just come to harrass the people that do like the book, so wait until you have an argument that makes sense before you go shoving it under everyone else’s noses. No one wants to hear your negativity so don’t waste you time, thank you very much.

  23. Fred says: “It’s a neat feature, but you’re by no means the first person to think of this”

    I might start a site cataloging windbags who feel the need to point out that something has been done already, but then someone would probably point out it has been done already, or maybe that someone had suggested it be done already, or maybe that someone knows someone who would probably do it better.

    Fred and ilk: Please STFU

  24. Wow, that’s a whole load of opinions (and bad spellings – as someone else pointed out as well!). Its an interesting take on how you truly can’t please everyone but come on guys – To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic and has been on several ‘Best of’ lists for a reason. Knee-jerk reactions saying ‘I am not racist but I hated the book’ just imply ignorance over anything else. I am not trying to preach out here but for all those of you who agree to the comments listed above, I would urge you to read or re-read the book again. The message of To Kill a Mockingbird is what has stood the test of time! When Atticus Finch decided to fight for what he believed in spite of public opinion, it teaches us something important. Sure, you may not win the battle but even making the effort will pay off in the long run. What’s imperative is knowing where you stand and staying firm in your beliefs. THAT”S what To Kill a Mockingbird is ALL about!

  25. This book was utterly dull. in the first few chapters it was soooooo boring. i could not see my self injoying it at all. my english techer forced me to read but i never did… even at chapter 4 i was still not interested. dont like it. waste of time.

  26. i understand that this book is a classic, but i don’t understand how it can be considered one as it is an extremely boring book. I am currently in the twelfth chapter and I have yet to find it interesting. If I didn’t have to read it for English class then I would have stopped a while ago. Even though the book has a great message about racism and prejudice, this theme will go unheard to most people because the book is dull and difficult to relate to, making it a book most will put down before the message is even heard.

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