Worst Reads of 2021

Happy Holidays one and all! 😊 I hope you are keeping safe and well this festive season. 2021 is nearing its end which means only one thing – reflecting on everything I read this year and sorting through my worst and best reads of the year. Fortunately, there are only 6 books that made it onto this list, which suggests I have had a good reading year (yay) and here’s to an even better reading year in 2022. These are in no particular order and aren’t bad books, but simply the books that didn’t work for me.

How to Disappear – Gillian McAllister

This book follows a family torn apart after their 14-year-old daughter witnesses a crime and they are forced to enter into witness protection. Typically, I don’t do crime thrillers but since I’m still in the early days of reading again, I wanted to continue to be open-minded and experimental with what I read this year. I picked this up on the Kindle store for 99p but despite the generally good ratings and reviews, it just wasn’t for me. I found the plot predictable and boring, and the characters completely one-dimensional. I also struggled with how illogical the characters behaved and how much I had to suspend disbelief to be fully immersed in the plot. Read the full review here.

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Coraline is a very well-known story so a plot summary isn’t necessary. Suffice to say, I had high expectations going into this book and it simply didn’t deliver. As a children’s horror, it’s effectively creepy and disturbing, with a moral lesson underpinning it – don’t take your parents/family for-granted. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get along with the nonsensical plot and didn’t connect to the story. But I did love Coraline’s character. She’s a brave, courageous young girl and a great character for children to read about and look up to.

Persuasion – Jane Austen

I love Jane Austen and never expected that one of her books would make it onto a list like this, but boy, Persuasion was a slog to get through. Branded as a second-chance love story, it follows Anne Elliot, a 27-year-old unmarried woman who has a chance to reconnect with her long lost love when he lands back into her life. The plot is meandering, slow and essentially non-existent. It lacks the characteristic charm and wit I’ve come to expect from Austen and features some of the most forgettable and bland characters I’ve encountered in Austen’s works. It was a tricky book for me to finish because I so desperately wanted to give up, but my love for Austen is what pushed me to continue until the end. Read the snapshot review here.

To Sir, With Love – E. R. Braithwaite

This was on the reading list for the introductory readings for my masters and I couldn’t get hold of it, so when I saw the audiobook was available at my library I was delighted. This is an autobiography from Braithwaite about his experience of teaching at a public school in inner-city East London as a wealthy black man. It provides social commentary around class and race in 1950s Britain. I wasn’t able to appreciate its merits because of Braithwaite’s matter-of-fact writing style which prevented me from connecting to his story. I also intensely disliked Braithwaite’s elitism, snobbery and judgement. Most of all, I was repulsed by Braithwaite repeatedly sexually objectifying his female colleagues and the underage girls that were his students. It’s this that really left a sour taste in my mouth and made it my least favourite read of the year.

Peter and Alice – John Logan

It’s sad that this play is on the list because I feel like it doesn’t deserve to be. Peter and Alice is a short play written about the characters of Peter Pan and Alice from Alice in Wonderland. It explores the creation of these characters and the trauma surrounding them, including cameos from the authors that created them. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a particularly strong affinity for either Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland, but I didn’t get this play. It felt like it was trying to tell a complex, emotional story but whatever that story was, I didn’t connect to it. It isn’t a bad play, but I don’t think I’m its target audience. I also think that I would’ve appreciated it more as a performance than a written play.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg

This is a historical fiction book which tells the story of a friendship between Evelyn Couch, a middle-aged housewife, and Ninny Threadgoode, an elderly woman in a nursing home who shares stories about her past in Whistle Stop, Alabama. It was a very anticipated read for me but didn’t turn out to be what I expected. I would definitely read more of Fannie Flagg’s books because I liked her writing style, but I didn’t connect to the characters or the story. I liked some of the themes that were explored around ageing, gender and racism but it lacked something for me personally.

There we have it – my worst reads of 2021. Tomorrow I’ll be posting my Best Reads of 2021, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

I hope those of you that celebrate Christmas have had a wonderful time 🎄🎅🏽 and those of you that don’t celebrate are able to have a rest over the final weeks of 2021 🙌🏻

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.