I read a lot of books that I loved last year - I found new series' to get completely hooked on, revisited old authors I love, and re-read some books that I keep coming back to. But, there were a few that disappointed. I know it's February and way overdue, but I love reading these kinds of posts, so here are my five least favourite reads of 2020 with 5 as absolute least favourite:
1.) The House Gun by Nadine Gordimer. This is a psychological narrative about parents Harold and Claudia struggling to understand how their son is being accused of murder. The book delves into the legalities around a case such as this, as well as sexuality, race and gender tensions. My real issue with this book was the writing style - you were totally distanced from the characters, which I struggled with. I felt like I couldn't connect with any of them and it made it a tough read to get through for me.
2.) Bad Romance by Emily Hill. The stories in this short story collection are all written by the same author, and range across a variety of different situations, from a woman faking pregnancy at her ex's wedding to get back at him, to another woman being widowed under circumstances you'd never expect. I struggled with this because all of the stories didn't feel different enough to stand alone, but didn't feel consistent enough to work together. It was hard to engage with any of the stories and it felt like they could do with a lot more editorial work.
3.) Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen is largely about a teen girl called Nofar who lets people believe that a washed up celeb sexually assaulted her. She knows he's innocent, but when people see her crying in an alleyway because he's been rude to her, she does not correct their assumptions. From here the lie spirals. I hated the message behind this book. In a world where women are desperately fighting to be heard and taken seriously about sexual assault, I don't think we need a book that suggests it's very easy for women to lie about this. It was also framed as a teen being desperate for attention and lying about this as a result which just felt insulting.
4.) Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. The plot for this takes place after To Kill A Mockingbird, when Jean Louise is grown up. We learn that Jem has died (not a spoiler, this is shown right at the start) and that she's going back to her home town to see her dad and childhood friend. This was my most disappointing read of the year. It retrospectively ruined my perspective of TKAM and I felt as crushed as Jean Louise did. The writing wasn't great, the storyline was disappointing and you can see why the author didn't want it published when she was alive.
5.) Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller is about eight year old Peggy whose father is a survivalist. He takes Peggy from their home in London to live in a hut in a remote European forest. When her father tells her everyone she knows is dead because beyond the forest the world has collapsed, Peggy realises she's going to have to get used to life in the wilderness. This book was totally not what I expected - the title made it sound like a romance and the cover didn't make it look as dark as it actually was. As the book progresses, Peggy starts having sex with a strange man whose an adult whilst she's a teenager (I think 15ish at this point). As the book closes we realise the man is her dad, and their relationship is still written in a weirdly romantic way.