For this week’s Top 5 Wednesday, the prompt mentions things that irk us as readers. I decided to discuss things that bothered me enough to conside unhauling a book (I tend to just pass them on to my siblings, in case I regret the choice). Here are some of my pet peeves in terms of literary and stylistic choices. Some spoilers ahead. PS: I hope no one is offended by my opinions. My goal is not to bash anything, but simply to express my annoyance.
5. monster’s point of view
Examples: Our Dark Duet, A Conjuring of Light* (didn’t think of unhauling the books, but I was really irritated by both of them in these “monologues”)
Often used as a way to hype up the conflict between good and evil, showing a “mysterious monster’s” point of view is often italicized. It is also frequently fragmented and hard to follow. In some ways, it reminds me of Harry hearing Nagini and Voldemort talking to each other. I don’t like that. Just narrate the story the way you always have. Unless the villain/monstrous thing is actually a three-dimensional nuanced character, I don’t really care for the “pure evil” narrative. I could go on and on about this, but in short: I don’t believe anything is “pure evil.”
4. mental illness as a spoiler
Example: Every Last Word
This one, I definitely unhauled it, because it was like, “Surprise! Another mental illness was at hand here.” We have enough stories about how confusing mental illness can be for a person. What I want is people who already know their diagnosis navigating their paths through life. A good example of this is Turtles All the Way Down.
3. pretty girl shaming
Example: The School for Good and Evil
Nope. Stop assuming that girls who care about their appearance are shallow and silly. You can be a multi-faceted person with different interests. Besides, caring about one’s appearance is not a reflection on one’s morality or intelligence. Stop pitting women against each other.
2. unnecessary and surprise flashbacks
Example: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Don’t jump around the text for no reason. Oh, it makes me so mad that this way of establishing characters’ back-story was used. Ugh, no. I barely could keep up with the main plot, and then all these flashbacks were used to help add dimension to the characters. Let me tell you, there are much clearer ways to narrate such aspects of a character. I felt like I was listening to a drunk man while reading this story, to be quite honest. Hint: not a good thing.
1. characters who use inappropriate nicknames
Example: The Girl in the Steel Corset
They just met, and a day or two later, he’s calling her “sweetheart.” And, it’s not like Han Solo, where it is used sarcastically. Heck, even Lea did not act amused by his nicknames. I just wish stories did not skip important boundaries being established. Look, I am sure people can fall in love while respecting each others’ space. Don’t call people things that are not appropriate for how close you really are. Stop making it okay for people to use terms of endearment without consent.