Recently, I’ve been thinking about the books I read a while ago and how a few months back I went and lowered my rating for most of the books I thought were fantastic and even favorites, and even though the reasons for that are pretty obvious (some problematics, two dimensional characters, insta-love, plot holes and I could go on forever), I started thinking about the ones I originally didn’t like and the specific book that sparked that train of thought in my mind is “L’homme qui voulait être heureux” by Laurent Gounelle, which translates to “The man who wanted to be happy”.
That is kind of a philosophical book exploring happiness and following a man who was unhappy and went to a balinese healer to try and make peace with himself and where he is in life. Back to my experience with the book. I felt uneasy whie reading it, didn’t enjoy it, not one bit and didn’t give much thought to that. I didn’t finish it (First DNF of my life) and labelled my reason behind it as boredom but now, reflecting back on it, I know for a fact that that wasn’t it. I’ll tell you the real reason I finally came up with further down the post.
Now that we have a background as to what generated this discussion let’s dive in and see what are some reasons for hating book at some point and feeling not so sure about that further along in life. This post
might get is definitely getting quite personal. But I’m okay with that, I feel okay to share these things with you guys.
I know this may sound harsh but it’s true and I’m not talking age either,some people at 13 are more mature than myself when I was 18. But the thing is, at certain points of our lives, we don’t look past what we know, what we understand and what isn’t too thought provoquing. Some topics go over our heads because they’re too complicated or we’re not educated about it enough.
Here’s a confession: I never read books treating LGBTQIA+ issues because of that, books about immigrant issues, POC (yes even the ones I identify with), racism, and other issues that I think are so fundamental now. I was in my own bubble reading books 100% for the story (not that there is Something wrong with that) not looking beyond to the people it’s including -or not including- the issues it’s discussing… a very narrow bubble to be honest and I’ve never been happier about something in my life than the fact that I have popped it. I can see more now, I KNOW more. Though I have an infinite more to learn, I am so far away from when I was a year ago, I can SEE those possibilities now and I’m so eagerly waiting to dive into all these books I have piled up.
That was my case with Eleanor & Park. I read it when I had severe body image issues and if you read the book as well you know that Eleanor goes through that as well. She’s too curvy, her hair too curly, she had to many freckles etc. And I truly hated her. Why? I hear you asking, you’re supposed to relate to her struggles and like her but NO. She represented everything I hated about myself, my stomach with too many roles, my thighs that were too thick, my skin that was perhaps too dark. Anyway.
That was around 3 years ago and I reread it a few months ago and I adored Eleanor. She was so quirky, brave and funny. Also beautiful, and that’s what I failed to see before. I could relate with her and found myself nodding and smiling through it because although there’s nothing happy about having 0 confidence, I was happy that it was something that I managed to get through and now what I see in her is a part of my past that although was excrutiatingly hard, I wouldn’t change because it forged me to what I am and what I didn’t know then is that there IS a way our of that vicious circle.
I don’t know how to explain this one, like really get my thoughts across the way they’re in my mind. Alright. I’m not talking about characters representing sexualties, genders, ethnicities or religions that are different than yours. I’m talking about the character that you were set to relate to because of all these things but somehow you haven’t had enough experiences yet, or yours were different and you just felt cheated. I personally have never experienced this one but I know people who have. Going from not liking a book to deeply appreciating it because NOW you can understand and identify with what’s in it.
You weren’t warned before so diving into the book you didn’t expect to find that one thing -or several things- that sends you down a spiral of dark thoughts and terrifying corners of your brain but it did. So, naturally, you couldn’t enjoy the book because of that. I only have one trigger which I won’t go into detail about in this post, maybe some other time -probably not, but the thing is that I’ve had it since I was 5, not over it, can’t get over it, will probably never get over it but that’s not our subject here. The point I’m trying to make is that I can’t bare reading a book that contains it, it makes my skin crawl, sends me in a downward spiral and I have a hard time recovering from it.
Funny enough, the first book I read in 2016 (after a huge slump) was triggering and THIS is a common trigger but it wasn’t mentionned ANYWHERE and that is a huge mistake, because books like that should have trigger warnings. It was set on being a favorite until the thing happened and I hated it.
The book and you just didn’t click because it was telling you things you didn’t WANT to hear. And THIS was me with The Man who wanted to be Happy. The book was talking about how to let go of things -among other ways- to be able to be happy, and I wasn’t ready to hear all those things, I had toxic people in my life that I held onto for dear life, I held grudges as old as the world, I was very unhappy and I KNEW why, I just wasn’t ready to acknowledge them because it meant I had to change a lot of things about myself and my life. And to be honest, I just found comfort in my misery, it was like a friend. I KNEW how to be miserable but had no clue about how to be happy. I might actually re-read this one soon and try and actually stop being a chicken now that I’m at a better place and see what it’s all about.
This might also be a topic that’s taboo to you, an opinion that’s against yours or any other kinds of confrontation that you can think of.
This was a lenghty discussion, huh! And more personal that what I expected but what can ya do? I just follow inspiration wherever it takes me. Also, I just think illustrating my examples with personal experiences makes them more understandable, so yep, that’s what I just did. ENJOY!
That’s it until next time.
Did you ever experience this? Can you relate with any of the points?
What are some other reasons you can think of?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.