The Q: What’s the Most Over-Rated Book?

The QWe’ve all read a book that our friends have ranted and raved about, finished the final sentence of the final page and thought, “That was lame. My friends should get their heads checked.”

Every time I tell folks that I didn’t like The Great Gatsby, they look at me like I just called them ugly. I generally catch an earful like a rebellious teenager who broke curfew and got my forehead pierced. But the truth is, I didn’t enjoy The Great Gatsby. And while I’m certainly willing to concede that it has a monumental place in the history of American Literature, I’m also adamant in my view that the book is over-rated and I’d much rather be curled up on the couch with Catcher in the Rye or Lord of the Flies or Dave Barry Slept Here. In fact, if the choices were between The Great Gatsby and the instruction on how to work our DVR, I’d hate to tell you which way I’d be leaning.

Certainly you have a book (or books) that everyone claims to love but you don’t. So the Q for you is this: What do you think is the most over-rated book? Leave it in the comments section so we can all discuss (and you can even mention why I’m crazy for not liking The Great Gatsby).

And if you name one of my favorites, I promise I won’t scold you as if you broke curfew. I may take you off my Christmas card list, though.

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77 thoughts on “The Q: What’s the Most Over-Rated Book?

  1. Marielle Murphy

    Okay, I loved the Great Gatsby, but I also loved The Crucible….so, I’m not sure what that says about me. Actually I might go home and watch the terrible movie that is The Crucible just for the hell of it.

    Anyway, I’m just going to go ahead and say this without regret….Beowulf. Uuuggghhh Beowulf. I had to read it once in high school and then again sophomore year of college and if I ever have to read it again it will be too soon. People really, REALLY enjoy Beowulf (my sophomore English teacher even knew how to read Old English and I give her props for that) but I just….I don’t get it.

  2. purenight

    I agree. I spent a summer several years ago reading as many “classics” as possible and The Great Gatsby was quite a snoozer. I also feel that The Lovely Bones was overrated as well. There are plenty of stinker books out there, such as the Twilight series and other books in the “Paranormal Teen Fiction” or “Paranormal Romance” genres, but The Great Gatsby is among the worst.

  3. rubyblueroses

    I loved The Great Gatsby, because Gatsby was a character you could root for and feel his pain. I was 17 when I read it, so I’d like to see how I feel about it 10 years after.

    Lord of the Rings is the one for me that’s overrated, and maybe it’s because I saw the movie first, but I don’t believe a story should drag out the way that one did. I was still in the Shire 200 pages in!

  4. tmocarski

    I agree about “Gatsby.” If I had to teach American Lit, I’d ignore it and maybe, just only maybe, show a video. I liked “Catcher in the Rye” when I read it in high school, way back when it really seemed to be relevant to the experience of the 50s and 60s. Seems dated to me now. Maybe that’s just my old age. Once plowed through Joyce’s “Ulysses” and had the same reaction of, “well, what was the big deal about that.” Don’t even get me started on “Finnegan’s Wake.” Obviously I read the Potter books as an adult. Always reminded me of the Hardy Boys, only with magic involved.

  5. edencreative

    Anything by Faulkner is overrated! As far as The Great Gatsby goes, it is one of the best books every written. Here is why: it brings in the themes of love, jealousy, vengeance, and regret. It shows the weaknesses and fallibility of people, the vapidness of men and women yet also shows their vulnerability (especially Gatsby’s). So what if it was written in another age? These emotions are ever present in the lives of people today (although expressed in a much more mundane way…take rapping for example). I would encourage those who have only read it once to re-read the book and pay attention to characterization which is one of Fitzgerald’s strengths.

  6. jjohnsontate

    *sigh* I truly believe there are some books you need to read while you’re young. The TWILIGHT “saga” and HARRY POTTER books fit in that camp. Also, I would put THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, which I could not get past the first few chapters, reading it in my early 20s. I’d bet when these are re-read by the fanatics in their 30s, they’ll shake their heads in disbelief.

    I know some people (my college writing professor) will cringe when I say I don’t care for any of William Faulkner’s writing. I know, I know, I don’t like WUTHERING HEIGHTS or JANE EYRE either.

    For the previous poster who said Heinlein’s STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND was overrated, maybe. I propose the biggest overhyped SF book though was Arthur Clarke’s RENDEVOUS WITH RAMA. As my husband joked, “It came, it thawed, we looked around, it left. Big whup.” He hates that I never finished Frank Herbert’s DUNE, as it’s his favorite and I think it’s a snorefest. Just another difference in opinion.

    Thanks for stirring an interesting discussion.

  7. akcotham

    “Can’t anyone just write a story these days?”

    Oh heavens, who knows anymore. 🙂 A story should have either good writing or a good, well, story. If you’re lucky, you get one, and that is perhaps enough to coast on, ’til the end. And if you’re REALLY lucky, you get both!

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