48 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Pretentious twaddle (with mouse porn),
This review is from: The End of Mr Y (Paperback)
The basic concept is great (hence the 2 stars) but the end product is contrived, forced, try-hard, boring, pretentious nonsense. This is all art and no story; a chance for the author to say, "Look how clever I am, look how much research I have done."
Good books are based on good ideas, yes, and the premise here is/was potentially brilliant, but good books also have great characters that one can relate to. This one does not.
The dialogue is atrocious too. It is split into two chunks: the clichéd and the pretentious. For large parts of the book, it seems that the author has simply put speech marks around great chunks that could have been (I'm sure they were not) lifted from a variety of high brow text books. The end result is a head ache and the destruction of any sense of story.
And then for the clichés: When she strays away from the science and offer high brow pretentious drivel, she gives us two incredibly clichéd bad guys with awful dialogue (no wonder they are angry). I mean, come on, others speak of her imagination, but the "bad guys with guns" (for that is how they are referred to in this book) are frantically unimaginative. The lines that spill out of their mouths are bed-wettingly naff.
Some of the scenes are just so contrived. For example, the scene where the protagonist and her virginal, ex-priest side kick are debating the "Notion of Being" whilst restraining from 'doing the deed' AND hiding from the above-mentioned "bad guys" is just an excuse for her to paste in some more chunks of science claptrap. I mean, who debates the (makes bunny rabbit ear signs) "Nature of Being" when you know that out there somewhere are "bad guys with guns" who want to kill you and your life is restricted to minutes. Perhaps it's me but a believable character would come across as a little worried about their impending doom not argue a point of science.
I actually laughed out loud when the ex-priest attempted to seduce the protagonist by explaining the nature of quarks and electrons and how, considering the habit of electrons to actually repel each other, having sex would be fine because they wouldn't actually touch on a molecular level - BRILLIANT! If I was single I would try that line on a Friday night and see where it got me!
And that brings me to the try-hard...
I really dislike books that try really hard to shock. This book tries really, really hard to shock you with some 'dirty sex'. It doesn't shock, it doesn't do anything (well, apart from make me a little concerned about the much-praised imagination of the author). The sex in this book is awful. It doesn't even need to be there. It is only there to keep readers turning the (beautifully presented) pages. I guess the main reason it is there is to break up the pages and pages (again, beautifully presented) of contrived, high-brow "dialogue". This is noting more than a science textbook with sex (and mouse sex to boot) and "Bad Guys With Guns".
To be fair to the author, some of her ideas are quite good; they are just very, very badly delivered. The idea that the Mona Lisa and Marcel Duchamp's urinal are basically the same - if looked at through an incredibly powerful microscope, for example, did get me thinking. The good points are there, but they are buried by perverted mice, clichéd "Bad Guys With Guns" and lashings of pretentious dialogue that could have been lifted from a PhD student's Thesis. Avoid!
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Nov 2007 13:09:35 GMT
T. Pearce says:
"good books also have great characters that one can relate to. This one does not." - clearly not ones that you can relate to. to stretch this to 'one' is to assume that everybody is like you... I agree that there is a 'Sophie's World' type element to this book, with large chunks of descriptive, explanatory materials around concepts, which can seem like it is from a textbook. But were that stuff not there, the potential readership of the book who could understand it would be utterly decimated. However, I feel she integrates this as well as can be expected, and far from the "destruction of any sense of story", intertwines this information amazingly well.
Your review says, about the believability of certain scnes and characters, "perhaps it's me". Perhaps it is. You criticise the author for wanting to appear clever, but I got that impression of you from your review far more than from this well put together book. Passages like "I mean, who debates the (makes bunny rabbit ear signs) "Nature of Being" when you know that out there somewhere are "bad guys with guns" who want to kill you and your life is restricted to minutes. Perhaps it's me but a believable character would come across as a little worried about their impending doom not argue a point of science" remind me of all that is bad about so many reviewers, amateur and (less so but still so) professional alike.
As for your assessment of the sex and seduction in the book, I wonder if you are again confusing your experience with everybody else's. For example: "I actually laughed out loud when the ex-priest attempted to seduce the protagonist by explaining the nature of quarks and electrons and how, considering the habit of electrons to actually repel each other, having sex would be fine because they wouldn't actually touch on a molecular level - BRILLIANT!"... have you never been involved in a seduction where 'pet topics' and ongoing conversations were brought into it? This just happened to be theirs. Your assessment that the book tried hard to shock with the sex seems to me to be completely from left field. To me it seemed to say that what is often seen as dirty or depraved sex goes on all the time. As for it being unnecessary... I'm speechless. How could that story have been told without it. Did you actually reach the final couple of chapters and epilogue? I wonder if you are trying to hard to show your non-schockedness. To me, it was just sex, treated particularly well.
To be fair to the reviewer, some of his ideas are quite good; they are just very, very badly delivered. The idea cliched bad guys, because they are cliched, should never appear in books, even if that was the intention, for example, did get me thinking. The good points are there, but they are buried by sex aversions, clichéd slaggings off, and lashings of pretentious critique that could have been lifted from a student newspaper. Avoid!
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2007 20:25:03 GMT
Neil Kealey says:
Thanks for taking the time to comment on my comment. I have obviously offended you in some way by criticising this book. And for that I am sorry. This book is clearly important to you and I hope I have not devalued it in your eyes. Not every book is to everyone's liking.
My comments were honest and genuine. I genuinely did dislike large parts of this book. I will not apologise for that. Whether my comments were pretentious or not, I can't comment. Did I try to amuse with my comments - yes. But only because I always try to be amusing. As is often the case, I seem to have failed. Sorry.
Oh, yes, I am an amateur reviewer. Does that make my opinion less valid? That said, I appreciate your comments; they are helpful and I appreciate the obvious effort you went to. Will try harder. Promise!
Posted on 29 Jul 2008 10:36:46 BDT
Angel of Nine says:
I'm only halfway down this book (having trouble finishing it) and I must say, so far I agree with you! The philosophical dribble and unrealistic conversations are driving me nuts! When does this story get going??
Posted on 18 Oct 2008 00:42:12 BDT
Elaine Pulling says:
Oh God, how I hated this book. I could never bring myself to burn a book but I was sorely tempted, instead I wrote a review very much along the lines of self absorbed pretentious twaddle, don't waste even a minute of your life trying to read this, inside the front cover before donating it to a local charity shop.
I particularly hated the gratuitous violent sex which seemed to be inserted at random through the plot ( and I use that term lightly!)
Never again will I buy a book with so many plaudits on the front cover. Did any of them actually read it?
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2008 23:00:22 GMT
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2010 18:19:46 BDT
I personally found this to be a very accurate review. I don't see any problem with writing a negative review. A writer asks for your money to read their book, and as such if they fail to deliever, there is no reason the consumer shouldn't express their views on the product they have paid good money for.
If people only ever wrote positive reviews, the literary world would surely suffer. People have a right to know what they're paying for and investing their time in.
As for why anyone would read it if they didn't enjoy it, how on earth would they know they didn't like it if they hadn't read it?
This book is terrible, bad enough for me to feel the need to let people know that before they purchased it. I see no reason why this reviewer shouldn't do the same.
This review is well thought-out, honest, well-written and valid. That's a lot more than I can say for The End of Mr Y.
I wonder, if you didn't like this review, why did you feel compelled to (a) read it and (b) log into Amazon to comment on it?
Posted on 27 Jun 2012 11:31:49 BDT
I agree with the original reviewer. This book really is pretentious, 'looking down one's nose at the reader one is also trying to impress with one's knowledge of popular science and obscure literature', twaddle.
Ah, the author teaches creative writing. Well that explains that, then. The sex bits too.
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