June 11, 2014

DNF Books

It is extraordinarily rare for me to put down a book unfinished. Recently I've been trying harder to do this because it's better to waste a few days on an unfinished book than take a few weeks to finish it begrudgingly. Last week when I found myself angrily talking back to The Actor and the Housewife and ultimately deleting it from my Kindle unfinished, I realized the last few books I DNF'd should be discussed.

 photo 5628393_zps8f07968e.jpgFirst up: the aforementioned contemporary chick lit e-book The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale which I read up to 35%. This book is about Becky Jack, an LDS housewife and mother to four kids, who runs into mega movie star Felix Callahan during a trip to LA and they become instant friends. The premise sounded fun but overall the execution (at least up through the first third of the book) was awkward, embarrassing and uncomfortable. Everything about Beck Jack made me feel uncomfortable from the way she talks to Felix (famous or not), to the way she fawns over him despite being happily married and the way she acts overall in her daily life. She is a sad Mormom mom cliche (and I say that as someone who loves Mormon moms). The premise seemed cute and quirky but I truly could not stand the protagonist and hope I forget her quickly.

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Next is a book that you might not be so surprised I put down: Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang a memoir by Chelsea Handler. I actually enjoy Chelsea Handler's humor for the most part, although I will admit that I prefer when she's limited on her crassness. I never took into account how much her television show controls what she says until I read this book. It definitely made me love her censors because her memoir is just one crass and stupid story after the other. I don't think I even made it through two chapters before throwing this one away. I definitely won't be picking up any of her other memoirs.

 photo 47304_zps7baacc8a.jpgFinally, I give you The Freedom Writers Diary by The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell. Honestly, they should just say this is by Erin Gruwell because it is so clear that Gruwell edited this thing until it was unrecognizable. If you're not familiar with the story (depicted in 2007 in The Freedom Writers movie starring Hillary Swank), this diary came from urban students from Long Beach caught up in gang violence and race wars so complex that they were barely able to consider their education. As a first year teacher, Erin Gruwell changed their lives by making their education more important and accessible to them while helping them move past their racism. I adore Erin Gruwell's story and the movie version of this story. I also drive past the actual high school where these events take place at least once a month (and it's totally safe now, by the way). But the diary-- it's clearly been over-edited and because of that it actually bored me. I think I read a third of this before I just gave up. This is probably the only book where I would welcome spelling and grammatical errors, but without them I don't feel connected to the writers at all. I'm sure in the end it's ultimately a great book and I might pick it up to finish it some day when there's nothing else to read (so basically maybe I won't pick it up), but for now it's being marked DNF.

Which books are on your DNF list? Do you have a problem putting down books unfinished like I do?


  1. I'm with you on The Actor and the Housewife. I listened to it as an audiobook, so I wasn't sure if the problem was with the story or the audiobook itself. I finished it, but it certainly wasn't one of my favorites.

  2. The first two sound pretty awful! Chelsea definitely needs limits, she grates my nerves after so much, I don't even want to think about reading her uncensored stories! I don't blame you!


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