I usually don't get involved in book related drama, if I am being honest. Usually I just can't be bothered, as I have far more important things to worry about. But, today I am changing that because I'm genuinely annoyed/pissed off/raging/fucking fuming - pick your favourite - and need to rant a bit.
I am not a person who rates books I haven't read. I don't do it. If I haven't read the book then I don't want to rate it, as my rating means nothing! I don't feel I can judge the book if I haven't read it. Today, my anger reached the point where I knew I wanted to write a post about it. And this post has to do with the new novel by Jennifer Niven, Holding Up the Universe, due out in October 2016.
It's not even out yet, but this is what it's rating currently is on Goodreads:
2.21!?! Are you serious?!? It's not due out for 9 months and already people are judging it, and pretty harshly. But, not only are they judging a book they haven't read, they are also being quite insulting to the author. So, why all the hatred for this book from the Goodreads community. It all comes down to the following synopsis, which has pissed off a lot of people. So proceed to have a read:
Maybe I am the odd person out here, but this book synopsis doesn't make me angry. Nor does it make me want to go to Goodreads and rate it 1/5 stars based on a 260 word synopsis. And the things that some people are saying in there reviews are just getting to me sooooooo much. The basics of what is being said:
- The author is exploiting being fat for character growth.
- That it has an offensive premise.
- She's romanticizing mental illness.
- Do fat people need a thin person writing a story about fat people.
- This thin author is dehumanizing fat people.
- The author is saying fat people aren't human.
I can't tell any of the people who said this about the book that they are wrong. I honestly can't say that because everything they are saying in their comments are their own opinion. Something they are completely entitled to, and your opinion isn't wrong just because it's different to somebody else's. But I do want to have my say and give my opinion on this.
First... She's not romanticizing mental illness in this book. Last I checked prosopagnosia (face-blindness) wasn't a mental illness. And neither is being overweight. And even if they both had a mental illness, why is it romantisizing it. Is it because these characters might fall in love? That's a romance between two people, not romanticizing any problems they have. Are we now saying that people with mental illnesses can't fall in love or shouldn't. I'm sorry, fuck that! 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer from some mental illness or health problem, so I think we should have more books that show that isn't the be all and end all of their lives. It's one tiny part of it and it won't hold them back.
Don't go on and on about how offensive you find the synopsis of the book and then make multiple comments about the 'skinny' author writing it. That's offensive, you hypocrite. And why can't a thin person write a book about someone who isn't thin?!?! That way of thinking is stupid. In that case let us not allow any white people to write any POC characters. Or POC characters write about someone of a different race. Authors won't be able to write about places they've never been. George R.R. Martin needs to stop writing books, he's never been a fucking dragon so surely he can't write about them. And J.K. Rowling isn't a witch so we better stop publishing Harry Potter. Oh wait, that sounds utterly ridiculous. That's because it is.
I would also really love if that human race comment would stop being taken so wildly out of context. It's a humorous phrase that people sometimes use when they have been away from people for a long time. I have literally used almost that exact phrase when returning to work after a long time away off sick. She wasn't using it as a 'she wasn't human before because she was overweight'. How is nobody else seeing that?!?!?!
But if you don't want to read the book: fine. If you hate the sound of the premise: fine. If you think all of the listed things are true: fine. That is all fine, it's your opinion and you can own it. But don't rate a book based on 260 words, something you haven't even read. It's ludicrous. But I never rate books I haven't read, how can I have an opinion on the novel when I haven't actually read it. I didn't agree with what Kathleen Hale did, but I didn't then proceed to go over to Goodreads and rate down her book because I hated read it. I might be alone in that, but I just don't see how I can rate down a book I haven't even read. I broke my own rule today and rated her new book a 5 before I've even read it. But, I feel like if they can show their total lack of interest in it with a rating, then I'm going to show my excitement and support for this author. I feel so bad for Jennifer Niven, who is a really sweet and caring person. She excitedly announced her new book and has basically been crapped all over. I AM SO DONE! >.<
Time for your opinion, lovelies. Do you hate the synopsis? Do you rate books you haven't even read?