Friday, June 29, 2012

The True Phonies

I LOVE reading Amazon reviews for books. I don't know why. It's addicting. And the best ones to read? The reviews on the classics.

The 1 stars are the most interesting.

I was reading reviews for The Catcher in the Rye (a book I LOVE. It's in my top 9 (the top 7 spots are filled with the 7 Harry Potter books). There, I came across a reply to a person who gave negative review. A person commented on the review, and it goes something like this:

You are the phony which Holden talks. You didn't understand the book at all.

IT IS IRONIC! This got me so angry, and made me think. And, above all, it is phony.

Reviewer B criticizes Reviewer A for expressing his/her HONEST opinion on the book. So it's a valid argument. Then, 'B' comes in and calls 'A' a phony. It makes no sense.

B is being the true phony. Why?

I know many, many people (me included) rave about classics because other people rave about them. Because it is 'intelligent' stuff to read. I have so much respect for Reviewer A because he/she diverged and expressed his/her true HONEST opinion. I have tons, tons of respect for 'A'.

I find it extremely phony for someone to trash another person's honest opinion. I find it even more phony when someone likes the book ONLY because it is a classic.

I bet J.D. Salinger (author of The Catcher in the Rye) would have loved his critics more than his fans - the fans who only liked him because he is a 'classic.' He would have loved his critics because they are not being phony. It's funny, because Salinger may have given birth to tons and tons of phonies :)

I've done this too, so many times. The biggest problem in classics is that people read it with the expectation that they WILL like it; and so, they do. I do. I have done this for so long, and I finally realized it's phony. I'd love to live in a world where books were books and everyone expressed their own opinions about them.

Censorship does NOT only exist in the banning of books; the biggest censorship is in the fear of thoughts.

I'll try to express my thoughts on books how I truly feel about them. I'll read them like any other book. I feel scared to death knowing that I might tell some professor that I didn't like a huge classic, but I feel this is necessary. I hate knowing that my preferences might be biased. If I want to hate a book, I will; If I want to love it, I will as well.

What are your thoughts about this? I really, REALLY want this discussion to go on, so please, comment and we'll talk :) I like discussions. They help a ton in figuring things out, and, honestly, this blog might be just about that.


  1. So, I think it was 1984 that I stopped reading at about page 4, and my sister was in an uproar, but if I can't get into a book before page 10, I can't keep going.

    Lord of the Rings was similar, except that because I wanted to love it since I love the movies, I made it past the hundreds. I eventually gave up.

    In another medium, Citizen Kane. Bored me to sleep, and of course, we learn Rosebud is the sled. I think most of my History of Film class laughed at that.

    These are classic stories that defined a generation and what have you, but if you don't like it, you just don't. You shouldn't be berated for your opinion.

    1. YES!!! I agree 100% with you!!! I couldn't get past LOTR either. It was SOOO hard.

  2. To tell you the truth, I hate a lot of classical literature. Not all, there are gems out there, like Gulliver's Travels, which I think is genius because I enjoyed it as a child (because of the fantasy elements) and then again as an adult (because of all the philosophical and political things it discussed), but then there are many others that I hate. And I don't know why I should be forced to like them just because they are classics and everyone else does.

    An example of this is Jane Austen. Yes, I read several of her books and I get that they were shocking at the time, but that was her time and this is a different time. Her stories are as dry as toast and classics should only be classics if they are relevant to us even today. They were romance novels of her time and they are so boring now. Her characters don't even kiss, let alone do a lot of the things that happen in romance novels today. Her story lines are all pretty similar and aren't that engaging in my opinion. Yet every romance writer out there (I write romance, by the way, all the time) is supposed to worship her as if she's our romance goddess.

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte on the other hand is a different story and it was written in the same sort of setting as Jane Austen's books and by someone in the same culture as her. The story is still very unique, even today, the problems are extremely engaging and exciting (Jane goes through homelessness, almost being killed by the crazy ex-wife of her fiance, child abuse, so on and so forth), while in Jane Austen's books, all that happens is a bunch of discussions over what is proper and improper. And how much money this or that man makes. Whoopdidoo.

    Seriously, I've read a ton of historical romance novels by current authors and Jane Austen's writing isn't even HALF as interesting as there's. It's shocking, I know, and an opinion I don't talk about often, but I've always felt that I shouldn't have to like someone like her just because she's a classical writer. I read her books. I gave them a chance. I expected to like them and I didn't.

    1. I tried to read EMMA by Austen, because that is JK Rowling's favorite book, but I can't get past the first few pages. I'm trying to read on (or I will try) but there are DEFINITELY very... mediocre classics out there. It's a matter of taste and preference, and some people can't accept that. Some people will hate one classic, some will love it.

      It's the expectations that you MUST love it that really get to me. Thanks for your reply!

  3. I think blogger might have eaten my post. It was a long and thought out one, too. =(

    1. I found them! They were hiding in the stupid spam folder :///

    2. I didn't even know there was a spam folder. I better find and check mine.