The Day After TomorrowMy brother-in-law once told me that he could never trust my opinions about movies, as he purports that I think that "every movie is the greatest movie ever." Clearly, he exaggerates. C'mon, Rich- everybody on the planet thought "Battlefield Earth" sucked!
But I was called back to his comment as I look over the three- and four- star ratings that I've given to all of the books I've reviewed so far, which got me to thinking: what's the worst book I've read from start to finish? Sorry, darling wife:My brother-in-law once told me that he could never trust my opinions about movies, as he purports that I think that "every movie is the greatest movie ever." Clearly, he exaggerates. C'mon, Rich- everybody on the planet thought "Battlefield Earth" sucked!But I was called back to his comment as I look over the three- and four- star ratings that I've given to all of the books I've reviewed so far, which got me to thinking: what's the worst book I've read from start to finish? Sorry, darling wife: I call BS on rating something as a "worst read" when you give up on it after 100 pages. What if it turns into something brilliant on Page 116? Then again, I'm anal, and if I start it, I'm generally going to finish it, regardless.This brings us to "The Day After Tomorrow." This is NOT the basis for the global-warming end-of-life-as North-America-knows-it Jake Gyllenhaal movie. This is an espionage thriller (I'd prefer the term "alleged thriller," in this case), revolving around...well, this summation by the School Library Journal sums it up nicely: "Paul Osborn, an orthopedic surgeon from Los Angeles, looks up from his table in a Paris cafe and sees the face of the man who murdered his father 30 years earlier. At the same time as he is pursuing the killer, the London police have a series of decaptitated corpses on their hands; Osborn falls in love with the French Prime Minister's mistress; and a German industrialist is recuperating from a stroke in a private sanatorium in Arizona." Yeah, that.About the only positive thing I could say about this book, is
that it starts out fast and with promise. For the first half-dozen chapters or so, I thought I had stumbled onto a goodie. Unfortunately, the plot gets really predictable and really formulaic just as quickly. The action becomes implausible; the protagonist is just your everyday average medical doctor who magically evolves into James Bond over the course of this steaming pile of preposterousness. Then there's the dialogue. The author clearly never spoke any of the dialogue aloud, just to get a sense for how it sounded coming out of a human's mouth (answer? Silly). Here's the very worst part: the author starts foreshadowing the BIG TWIST ENDING about 2/3rds of the way in, in the most ham-handed way imaginable, and then proceeds to 'reveal' this big twist in the last paragraph of the book...ALL CAPS OF COURSE, TO SIGNIFY IT'S IMPORTANCE...as if the average third grader would never have seen *this* coming. Sorry, author Allan Folsom, I figured out what was in the container way back on page 200. And now for something completely different: I'm at a Memorial Day picnic/party/excuse to drink mass quantities several years back, and I'm meeting a number of my wife Catherine's good college friends for the first time. At some point, a few of us start talking about books, and Catherine's friend Brent starts raving about this fantastic thriller he just finished reading, how exciting it was, how he couldn't put it down, and how floored he was by the twist ending. Of course, he was referring to T.D.A.T. My already underdeveloped tact gland had been further stupified by several helpings of the beer-du-jour by that time, so before my filter had a chance to kick in, I replied, "Oh my God, I just finished reading that too, and - ARE YOU CRAZY? - it was complete CRAP!" And then proceeded to tell everyone else there why they should never, ever take book suggestions from Brent. Not my best moment.So, take my review with a grain of salt. Brent and a whole host of reviewers on both GoodReads and Amazon loved, loved, loved this book. I just don't see it. ...more