Sometimes I read a review that expresses such passionate hatred for a book that I can’t help but want to read more. Perhaps I am alone in that response.
Now, I enjoy literary novels – I read a lot of folks like Margaret Atwood and Alan Moore – but occasionally my mind requires a different sort of reading material. Sometimes I want to read a book that is a little wild, a little crazy, a little less good.
Luckily The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight has come to my rescue. The Outliers follows the story of Wylie, a girl who is investigating her best friend’s disappearance. Though the plot summary seems normal enough, I stumbled across a veritable treasure trove of scalding reviews on the book’s Goodreads page when doing research on novels being adapted into films. Readers were saying things like:
“…the only way it could be more insane is if Wylie was actually an alien with a mission to destroy the earth…” – Emily May
“This was a one-way ticket on the hot mess express.” – Kelly (and the Book Boar)
“Hah hah hah, what. This book is looney tunes.” – Wendy Darling
Those phrases are like catnip to me. I have to read The Outliers now. I have to know if it really is that extraordinarily, wonderfully, terribly bonkers. And worse, I hope that it is.
I am so excited.
Now to be perfectly fair, The Outliers has plenty of good to excellent reviews. Thousands of people love this book. But those positive reviews aren’t the ones that make me want to read it. The more, let’s call them passionate, responses are.
Normally I wouldn’t call out a specific book for a post like this, but since The Outliers is ridiculously successful and currently being developed into a film by Warner Bros., any critiques mentioned here will do it little harm. Additionally I am planning to buy the book, and I bet that in spite of myself I’ll enjoy it. I’ve always been a fan of the hot-mess express. (Confidential to Kimberly McCreight: if you ever want to share your experience of writing a book and having it optioned for the big screen, call me. I’d love to chat.)
If you have ever experienced the joy of reading something that other people hate, please share! I’d love to add more novels to my “What on Earth is Happening” pile. I also encourage you all to check out the reviewers that I linked to above. They are a bunch of witty, well-read folks, and it’s a pleasure to see what they think of various books.