Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bad bargain

So, a while back we were in Borders and perusing the 3-for-2 table. And if you've been following this blog closely, you might recall that I settled on Jodi Picoult's Change of Heart, Bill Bryson's Shakespeare and Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

I really only wanted the latter 2 titles, but the Kiwi bargain hunter in me couldn't turn down the chance of a free third book, so I picked the Picoult even though she's not an author I've ever been attracted to.

Well as it happens, I loved the Bryson and the Diaz. But the Picoult is a total disappointment. Her book reminds me very much of John Grisham (of which I read The Firm and Pelican Brief and -yes, even a third book which was much worse than the first 2 and the one that made me realise what a waste of my life these books were).

And that is my conclusion - Picoult is the anxious parent's Grisham. One of the things I liked least about Change of Heart was its religious theme - priest suffering a crisis of faith, deathrow prisoner who performs miracles a la Green Mile, fat single female lawyer who can't find a boyfriend - oh wait, that last one's not religious...or is it?

And then the realisation that I've been ripped off. The 3-for-2 deal gave us the cheapest book for free. The cheapest of our trio was the Bryson, while the Picoult was the most expensive. If I'd just picked up the 2 books I wanted in the first place I probably would have spent less.


Anonymous said...

You know, I read a Jodi Picoult book a few years ago and it was sort of okay (but sounds a lot like the one you read) but did think it was all a bit 'Oprah's bookclub'. Kind of a bit like Anita Shreave (or whatever her name is).

Anonymous said...

I've never been a huge fan of Jodi Picoult. I've read several of her books, but never loved them or hated them. Just blah. I did get very annoyed that 19 Minutes was hailed as the first school shooting book or some bs like that. We Need to Talk About Kevin has been out for ever, and it's a far better book than 19 Minutes.

Violet said...

donnasoowho: I've never read Anita Shreve, though I've heard of her. My Picoult was definitely very 'blah'. Though, as a frustrated writer myself, I have to admire her ability to actually finish whole novels and get them published...and make millions from them.

aprilbapryll: Kevin is a great book. It's one of the few I can re-read and not get tired of.

Kazzer said...

Have you ever read "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon? Definitely worth a read. My father-in-law picked it up as part of a 3 for 2 deal. I've stopped going to bookshops because I can't resist these deals. Have joined the library instead.

Violet said...

kazzer: no, I've never heard of it. Sounds science fiction-y. I love the library - we get about a dozen childrens books and a few sewing books/mags every week or so.

Pollyanna_H said...

Any time you feel like buying a book or two from Bs, go into an e-mail from them and click on the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom.

Then choose the "edit my profile" option and change something small (eg unclick an option. Next time click it.) Save your new preferences and a 20% off coupon (valid for a month, one per visit) will pop up. Print off as many as you like (good to offer colleagues and friends). Then go shopping ; )

Violet said...

Thanks for the tip, pollyanna_h