It is not very often that I actually feel betrayed by a book, but I think there are a few different ways where it can happen. For me, the most common is when I expect to love a book, and end up being let down. In those cases, I feel betrayed in the sense that it was nowhere near as promising as I hoped. In other cases, I feel betrayed by the characters or the plot itself, when something unexpected happens. Here are five books that I felt betrayed by.
Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.
1) Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen By Proxy Childhood by Julia Gregory
If I haven’t mentioned it before on this blog, I am really not a fan of non-fiction in general. I find most of it quite dry and boring to read, even when it is on an interesting topic. I chose this book as part of one of my reading challenges because I’ve always thought Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome, which is a rare form of child abuse where a person, usually the parent, essentially fabricates illnesses in their children, and may even physically cause the child to become ill. The motive is usually to get attention or sympathy (ie. for being the “good parent” who takes care of the child) from medical professionals. It is a fascinating but very creepy condition, and I was looking forward to reading this book that seemed to give a first-hand account of what it was like to grow up as the child of a parent with MBPS. Unfortunately, I really did not enjoy the book much at all. It did not actually focus on the MBPS as much as I expected, given the title, and I didn’t find the rest of Julia’s life story particularly interesting to read.
2) The Osiris Complex by Colin A. Ross
This was a very similar case to Sickened. I chose this book because it was a set of case studies about multiple personality disorder, written by one of North America’s leading authorities on the subject. This was another area of psychology that has always fascinated me, but I knew very little about so I was looking forward to reading the book. I learned pretty quickly that it is very difficult for me to read a book of case studies all in a row, especially when the author’s writing style is so dry. In one case — the one that most put me off the book — Colin A. Ross very tediously describes all the medication changes the young woman goes through to drive home the point of how badly her case was mishandled. It got the point across for sure, but it also killed any remaining interest I had in the book. It’s really a shame, considering how fascinating the topic could be. I liked a few of the cases, but the dry and repetitive writing style made the book more of a chore to read.
3) Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned many times by now, Jodi Picoult is my favourite author and I generally love everything she reads simply because of her writing style. There are still a couple of her earliest books that I haven’t read yet, but aside from Keeping Faith, I’ve really enjoyed all of them so far — which is why I felt a bit betrayed by Sing You Home. To be fair, it wasn’t a huge betrayal since I still rated this book 4 stars out of 5, and I generally liked it. The main reason I would consider it a betrayal is because it did not live up to the level I expect from one of Jodi Picoult’s books. This book had so much potential, but I thought it tackled too many issues at once, and ended up feeling like more of a hodgepodge of a couple of different stories — one about infertility and IVF, and another about gay rights and adoption. Although these halves were supposed to work together, it felt like they could have easily been two separate, fully fleshed out stories on their own.
4) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
This book was a betrayal in terms of the plot itself, although really it was across the whole series. Although finding out who Katniss was going to end up with was not my main priority in reading the series, I was convinced for most of the three books that I knew who she was going to choose. I’ll avoid naming him here on the off-chance anyone hasn’t read the book or seen the movies yet, but I was so sure she would end up with the person I picked. It was one of the few times where I actually felt betrayed by the ending of the book when the character picked someone else. Upon further reflection, her choice made more sense to me and I came to like it a lot more, but I still remember being upset when I first finished the series.
5) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
What would one of these lists be without the obligatory Harry Potter reference? All jokes aside, this was one of the first times that a favourite character of mine was killed off so abruptly and, in a sense, so subtly. Again, I will do my best not to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read or watched it yet, but this book stands out because it is rare for me to literally cry from a book. I do get emotionally invested in stories and characters, but not always to the point where I would actually cry. This scene came as such a shock to me at the time, and it is still quite upsetting to read. I considered it a betrayal because I never saw it coming.