Wednesday, August 26, 2009 One-Star Reviews - Part 1: Books

This is the first installment in a three-part series on One-Star Customer Reviews at

On Aug 15, 2009, culture writer Johnny Dee at The Guardian wrote a funny and provocative piece on withering Customer Reviews at of critically-acclaimed artworks.

Stealing Taking Mr. Dee's idea a step further, this series extends these blue-collar critiques. Below are excerpts from Amazon Customer Reviews of Books, Music and Movies. In each, the author ascribes a lowly One Star to works that normally maintain Five-Star status in the artistic canon. It's worth noting that most of these critical non-professionals would have awarded zero stars if given the opportunity.

Taste trumps Objectivity soundly at every turn, a practice that would have made even Kant blush. Welcome to the democratization of aesthetic criticism.

Note that, in almost all cases, the syntax and spelling of the original review has been carefully preserved throughout. One-Star Reviews - Part 2: Music One-Star Reviews - Part 3: Movies One-Star Reviews: The Beatles Remastered


Fortunately, this is a very short book because if it had even been one page longer I would have had to resort to a slow, painful suicide (which would have been more interesting than "Beowulf").

Everyone's grandmother would be ashamed to know the language they use.

The only part of the story I enjoyed was at the very end when Beowulf gets killed by a fire breathing dragon.

We freed ourselves from the British government through war and struggle. What do we have to do to free ourselves from their literature?

The Odyssey
The Odyssey is a pathetic, lost little child of a poem, obviously written by some eager but mediocre student of Homer's after the poet's death.

Homer remains a mystery to me. What person alive says, "that nonsense coming past your teeth"?

I dont care if Homer was blind or not this book is like 900 pages too long.

Many times I could turn three more pages and still be in the same spot.

I thought this story was very gross and I almost threw up.

Apparantly, it IS possible to go wrong with The Odyssey. Fitzgerald is 100x better.

I don't get where people get the notion from that Othello is realistic. Maybe if you lived inside a box your whole life.

I actually laughed numerous times when the play was supposed to be serious - the book is filled with bathos.

Othello is not unlike Calvin's character in "The Titanic". And the truth is I have more sympathy for Calvin.

The most annoying thing about this play is that except for Iago, all of the characters are major simpletons.

Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice is simply a 19th century British version of the Jerry Springer show.

It is a book where they compliment women as being handsome and men as being well...also handsome.

I tried and tried to read it, but it was all nonsensical jibber-jabber.

The book is quite contagious because I find myself helplessly imatitating the language that it was written in.

If you like torture, read book. If you smart, spend money on Beacon Soda.

After finishing the book I ran to a bookstore and traded it for a second-hand copy of 'A House for Mr. Biswas'.

Anna Karenina
This 80000000000000000000 page "book" isn't just boring and depressing, he was trying to convince us that life is boring and dull.

Primarily consists of a guide on how to cut grass, how to hunt bear, and how to abandon your own kid for a gigolo. If I wanted all that stuff I would have read Farmers Almanac.

Make sure you don't let the novel slip from your hands as it would probably break your foot.

I'm glad Tolstoy isn't my next door neighbor.

A pulseless corpse of a book.

Great Expectations
After reading this book, I think Dickens would benifit from very low expectations: a lot of people will be returning this book and giving bad reviews.

I do understand that each chapter was published separately over many months, and therefore Dickens had to make them a good length, but COME ON!

You will like this book if you enjoy a story that never ends and gets old at about page 10.

This book reminds me of algebra, its boring, time-consuming, worthless, and you will never have to use this in your whole life.

I give this book a minus 200 on a scale from 1-5.

For a more thrilling read, try a dictionary or a phone book.

Mary Shelley wrote this book when she was 18 and it really shows.

Mary Shelley is in need of a good editor almost as much as friggin' Frank Norris with his stupid novel McTeague.

It would be a great read on the crapper, but since it is longer than 50 pages, just read the cliffs notes. Otherwise youre wasting your time.

Its amazing that in less than a year, a monster, made from dead criminals can learn to speak better than i have been able to in my entire life.

I know that Mary Shelley had many miscarriages and children's deaths and this book is about that and blah blah blah

This book is totally sketch.


Moby Dick
Moby Dick is, after all, essentially the plot to "Jaws".

It leaves you with that, "I hate myself" feeling you get after accidentally destroying a major city with a hydrogen bomb.

"Call me Ishmael"? Call ME bored.

We must face it 100 years or so ago American literature was reall weak and lagging from the rest of the world. Perhaps now they're starting to catch up with writers like Ann Rice.

Had Melville cut this book down to about 25 pages, it would be bearable. Unfortunatly, he never stopped writing. If he were alive today, he would probably still be adding onto Moby Dick.

Compared to "Moby Dick", "War and Peace" is a light, fun read where your eyes just fly across the page.

Doubt he could get it published today.

Few unread novels have enjoyed as much success.

Ulysses has two great strengths. First, it steals the plot of the Odyssey in its entirety. Second, it is equally incomprehensible to both English and non-English speakers alike.

There is a famous sex scene in this book where the mental thoughts of the individual coming to climax fills many pages. No one I know thinks about anything while climaxing. Totally unrealistic.

I believe he has turned many children away from reading. I think this helps to account for, say, J.K. Rowling's success.

Its only function is to keep blinkered academics busy.

In the words of a *real* writer (H. L. Mencken): it is rumble and dumble, it is flap and doodle, it is balder and dash.

It was later said when Joyce was dead and buried that he had confessed to a close friend that "Uylsses" was a completely fabricated joke that he used to get revenge at the world with.

The Great Gatsby
Gatsby is the 2nd greatest novel of the 20th century? Are you serious? Above Lolita?

It is like a great suspension bridge for which the pillars have been laid but no attention given to putting down the road itself.

"Gatsby" is the work of a bad juggler--it would have been so much better if he'd tried fewer balls.

I would recommend this book only to the person who likes to read about stupid people sleeping with each other just to seem important.

If I wanted to read about lame, rich, full of themself people going to parties, I'd pick up People magazine.
I would rather be reading something written by Issac Asimov.

Oops, sorry about that! I seem to have fallen asleep again.

The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway has made alcoholism into a fine art, because that is basically what all his novels are about.

Here's the first half of the book: "We had dinner and a few drinks. We went to a cafe and talked and had some drinks. We ate dinner and had a few drinks. Dinner. Drinks. More dinner. More drinks. We took a cab and had some drinks, and maybe we danced and flirted and talked sh*t about somebody. More dinner. More drinks. Maybe you should come up to my room, no you can't".

Every page I turn has "drink", "wine", "bottle", "bar", "cafe", "coffee", "breakfast", "lunch", "dinner" or any word related to dipsomania, gastromania (or bulimia perhaps?) written all over it.

If Hemmingway took out every reference to drinking the book would be about 10 pages long.

I kept hoping that the story would end with the ugly Americans and arrogant Brits entering a detox center and becoming the initial success stories of AA.

The sooner Papa Hemingway is forgotten the better American literature will be for it.

The Sound and the Fury
Incontestable Fact: Any book that can't be understood without the aid of the author explaining it is a failure.

I suppose if you want to really study Faulkner so that you can get in on all of his inside jokes and hidden symbolism, then this book is for you. The rest of us have jobs.

Faulkner writes using "Stream of Consciousness". One problem: the first part of the book is about someone who is mentally retarded.

If you buy the book, you will get the joy of reading page after page of text with NO PUNCTUATION WHATSOEVER. No capitalization, no commas, no periods. NOTHING.

I hate it when characters are given the same name, especially when one is male and the other is female.

Do not get on a plane to L.A. with only this book to read.

Of Mice and Men
It would have been a better book if Steinbeck had put more effort into it.

When you read his books you get the feeling that he started out with this great idea, and then got bored and finished the book real quick.

They should re-name this book Retard on a Ranch.

The reason I gave the book one star is because that is as low as I could give it. This book was awful.

The only reason I read it in the first place was because my teacher said read it or fail. Looking back I wish I would have just taken the zero. One-Star Reviews - Part 2: Music One-Star Reviews - Part 3: Movies One-Star Reviews: The Beatles Remastered

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