Eric's Reviews > Outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
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Dec 04, 13

Read in January, 1997

I wrote an irreverent but still pretty mean review of this book in 2007. It ruffled some feathers, which made me realize I was being too internet ugly about it. So I toned it down and went with a less prickly and more humorous vibe to describe why I didn't like it. Still pretty insulting in retrospect.

The comment section continued to blow up, taking on a life of its own with hundreds of comments as this review persisted at the top of the stack where most people would see it. I lost track of it for years at a time as mini wars were fought in it between those who agreed and disagreed, which in some cases devolved into nasty disputes that weren't even about the book. Oh no! I've created a monster! Others just laughed along or added calm opinions.

Now I've had an additional change of heart and so am going to bring this chapter to a close six years later and delete the last of the snark and skewers so that this review will sink away. I'll leave it up just as an apology and as penance.

I realized that there are ways to talk about why I don't like a book without taking personal shots at the author that I would never say to their face (well, unless they were Terry Goodkind of course. No! Stop that!), and that I was really using it as a platform to put on my own little show. It's kind of small to crap on somebody's work and on them personally in a way that persists publicly just as a vehicle to get attention for my own class clownery. That was selfish and unkind and I should have deleted it years ago.

So goodbye, gentle commenters! It's been an interesting trip. I'm sorry if I added ugliness to your life.

Sorry, Diana Gabaldon, and best wishes.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 266) (266 new)

Ginger Robinson I see that you do not like this book. But I find it hard to believe that you would hate it so strongly that you would leave those comments. Many people disagree with you including me. If you really hated it why did you read all the way through it? Or did you? This is not a romance novel but historical fiction of the time travel variety. Clearly not your taste, but there really isn't a good reason to trash it so vehemently.

Shonna "To each his own" You were obviously able to discern that you didn't like the book from the beginning so why did you bother finishing it? This book is historical fiction/romance/science fiction/time travel - much much more than a romance novel. Obviously not your cup of tea, but VERY obviously millions of readers around the world love this series or Diana Gabaldon wouldn't be writing the 7th and 8th books now.

message 3: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda Whatever. I think this review is fucking hilarious.

message 4: by Shelly (new)

Shelly I think the "Only $3.99" stamp on the book is a particularly nice touch. It also serves to validate his review.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Sorry, Eric, according to Shonna, "millions of readers around the world [loving] this series" invalidates your opinion. Tough break. I love your review, but "millions of readers" have spoken, and "millions of readers" can't be wrong. If "millions of readers" jump off a cliff, I suggest you do it too. I'm going to go see what "millions of readers" are up to now...

Books Ring Mah Bell You don't have to search! Oprah will tell you what to read, and YOU WILL LIKE IT! Millions of Oprah fans can't be wrong...

can they?

Books Ring Mah Bell Hello Robert!

Excellent logic.

message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Now why would RA feel compelled to go near it?! and btw, great review!

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Books are cool. Somebody should start a website devoted to them. I mean who needs another one of those social networking websites with a bunch of silly threads about sex, pop music, politics and television. We've all been there and done that! More power to the book, I say!

message 10: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey Gah! I hate it when I read something that is so bad it pisses me off. Thanks for the warning!

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Eric likes Robert Jordan.

'Nuff said.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I thought Robert Jordan and Diana Gabaldon were the same person.

And Brendan, don't try to deny that back in the day you didn't eagerly await the next adventure of Rand Al'Thor and his compatriots. I got your `Dragon Rising' right here buddy...

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Tolkein was bad enough, but at least he wrapped up it up in a prequel, a trilogy, and a throwaway history for nerds.

Isn't The Wheel of Time going to be like 1,800 volumes and 1.2 trillion pages?

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I think there is one more `Wheel' book being completed by another author now that Jordan is dead.

Happy 60th birthday BTW, Brendan.

message 15: by Mattomic (last edited May 08, 2008 08:31AM) (new)

Mattomic David, David, David! Love the porn 'stache. It suits you in the oddest of ways. Also, it makes you more dictatorial (i.e., you can bend more Goodreaders to your will more easily). Love it!

message 16: by W.B. (new)

W.B. I already had reasons to avoid reading this book, but a sock puppet warning me with such passion had the convincing force that maybe the fifth or sixth plague in Egypt probably had in convincing the pharaoh that he might have fucked up. Just a bit.

Werner With all due respect to Eric, no two people react to the same book in exactly the same way; so the fact that he passionately hated Outlander doesn't mean you will --any more than the fact that millions of people liked it means that you will. His main point seems to be that he was repulsed by the sexual content; but personally, I wasn't disgusted by the sex scenes --and I'm a strait-laced, middle-aged librarian!-- and I don't recall the homosexual rape being directly described very graphically, either. For whatever it's worth, both my Goodreads friend Sheena and I independently gave the book good reviews, and five-star ratings. So my suggestion would be, if the premise and setting intrigue you, to give the book a try and make your own judgment!

message 18: by Sandi (last edited Jun 07, 2008 03:39PM) (new) - added it

Sandi I liked this review. So what if he's trashing the book? Isn't everyone entitled to his or her own opinion. What I liked is that he didn't just say he hated, he gave very good reasons why. I find that kind of thing useful when I'm trying to choose a book to read amongst the hundreds of thousands of books out there. So, Outworlder fans, ease up.

I think Werner's response was perfect.

message 19: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda Dude, Eric, when did you change your review? I voted the hell out of it, man!

message 20: by Vikki (last edited Jun 17, 2008 05:37PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Vikki eric, all i can say about your review is this...

Julie (jjmachshev) One of the best, and most entertaining I might add, reviews I've read in a while!!!

message 22: by Jeanne (last edited Jun 29, 2008 02:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeanne I love Outlander, but I respect your opinion. Wish I could have read the original version of your review. I think this book is a chick thing. You need to have some feminine sensibility to appreciate it. I liked it because it's romance, but with a strong female lead and intelligent historical aspects as well. Much better than those romance "novels" with covers picturing the demure woman falling at some buff stud's feet.

Stephanie Wow! What a review! Your review was so well written and your opinion backed up with such great points, I wouldn't have read Outlander after reading your comments. However, luckily for me, I read the book first and loved it enough to read it twice. I would say it is in my top-5 of favorite books I've read. I checked out your profile, and see that you definitely stepped out of your preferred reading-flavor. You are far from a 'mainstream' reader and I respect that. Happy reading!

Stephanie Right on Jeanne! Great comments about the book. I agree totally! I abhor those shallow story-line, bodice ripper books where the girl is so weak that she surrenders to her carnal desires for the irresistible philanderer (whom she hates despite her body lust for him). And he of course, suddenly decides that she is finally the only women he loves enough to become monogamous with. Uhgg! You never hear the ending where the girl gets an STD from his past consorts.

In Outlander, I just fell in love with Clair's strong character. First romance novel I've read where the girl was older than the man, had more sexual experience and actually had something to teach her man in bed. Didn't you just love that scene!!! And yet, while Clair was a strong woman, Jaime was her match and didn't cow to her either. I fell in love with Jamie too! The story-line was unique and intelligent. I'm with you....loved the book!!! Happy Reading!

message 25: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin I adore your review!

Crystal I'm 300 pages in and wondering what the hell all the fuss was about myself. Cheesy, romantic (I don't give a darn about the granite and the heather). I'm gonna finish it, so I have the *chortles* bragging rights. I'm fairly certain, however, I *won't* be continuing the series.

PS: thanks for the male rape scene warning. I nearly wanted to skip forward! (that was a joke)

Josie "Aye, he used me hard. An' I could nae but respond to his touch." Aaaand... SCENE!

I burst out laughing when I read that. Thanks for reminding me why I read these books -- the unintentional hilarity is brilliant. (I have Drums of Autumn on my shelf and I couldn't decide whether to read it or chuck it. I think now read, if only because I need a laugh.)

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

This thread is more amusing than her books :-) I read like candy, them then put them aside...

Caroline Very funny review - I can see your point. But I did love this book anyway. It felt like a dirty secret sometimes.

Sara W Great review! I gave up on this book about half way through, and I'm really glad I did. I didn't hate it, but I was certainly bored with it. I agree with CR - what is all the fuss about?

Shannon Josie wrote: ""Aye, he used me hard. An' I could nae but respond to his touch." Aaaand... SCENE!

I burst out laughing when I read that."

Me too.

message 32: by Susan (new)

Susan I hated it too. Way to explicit, very annoying.

message 33: by Christie (new)

Christie I'm 15 pages in and checking to see if I should bother. The writing is amateurish. Glad to know the plot is as well.

message 34: by CJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

CJ Bro Outlander is one of my all-time favorite books, but I have to say, Eric, your review made me laugh out loud. Outlander is one of the most haunting love stories I've ever read. Could it be the magic is lost on those of the male persuasion? I'd be interested in hearing more from the guys out there. Did any of you like Outlander? I do agree the rape/torture scene was a bit much, but I read the wedding night segment over and over. All in all, it's a great story with a strong, intelligent female protagonist, which is refreshing.


message 35: by Rosanne (last edited May 28, 2009 03:13PM) (new)

Rosanne How about the fact that he beats the crap out of her at one point in the book? yay for romance!!

Interesting that people think the fact that you did not like it is because you lack 'feminine sensibility', I don't even know what that means, but I do find books like these tend to result in rabid fan bases where folks have a hard time with any sort of criticism, no matter how accurate.

message 36: by CJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

CJ Bro Glad you got that off your chest, Pens. Feel better?

message 37: by Ricky (new) - rated it 1 star

Ricky I am 100% with you. This book along with the second of the series (as I was told the second book was SO MUCH BETTER than "Outlander") FINALLY cured me of that compulsion to finish every book I start. Worst books ever.

message 38: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Garner Amanda wrote: "Whatever. I think this review is fucking hilarious."

Ditto. I would read a review by you anytime Eric. Thank you.

message 39: by Galina (new) - added it

Galina Derevyanko Haven't read the book - not even thought of reading it - but after reading Eric's review I feel I must read it!
Great job, Eric!

message 40: by David (new)

David Hey, Check out Diana's Newest Release.

It's coming out in less than 70 days.

An Echo in the Bone. More info at and link directly to product page on from

message 41: by Eric (new) - rated it 1 star

Eric Absolutely not gonna do that, David!

Megan Lyons I liked the book Outlander, but I liked your review more. It is spot on. I will quietly put Outlander in my guilty pleasures shelf, and return to the world of actual literature. I will no doubt re-read this book one day when I am in the mood for some entertaining reading though. :P I think it is a romance, although better than the harlequin variety.

message 43: by BK (new)

BK Blue Unfortunately I was taking a sip of my drink as I came to the end of your review, and I ended up squirting Sprite through my nose.

Thanks for the laugh!

But not for the nasal pain.

message 44: by Ed (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ed Just finished "Outlander". My only wish is that I could write as clever a review as you did, Eric.

I, too, finished the book because that's what I do. I'm a charter member of "The Clean Plate Club" from WW II. I doubt if I will continue the series in spite of the fact that "millions of people loved the book!" Millions of people read James Patterson, too. I know this because his books are always available at Costco.

Anyway keep up the good work, Eric. The world needs more thoughtful critics.

Nerija Stephanie wrote: "...In Outlander, I just fell in love with Clair's strong character. First romance novel I've read where the girl was older than the man..."

Yes, this was also the first book I read in which the woman is older than the man. If you liked Outlander, I highly recommend "The Pillars of the Earth." There are two characters in that book that seriously remind me of Jamie and Claire.

message 46: by Nerakins (new)

Nerakins This book was a mockery to my intelligence and morals. It was awful! The first third of the book was tolerable with a fairly good plot but after Jamie and Claire got married it was just a bunch of trash. This was recommended on a teen book list I found online but there is no way I would ever recommend this to any of my friends. Frankly I do not feel the need to read about such graphic and well... cheesy sex scenes! I stopped reading the book about 3/4 through because I couldn't take it anymore. Only really depraved minds could enjoy this book.

Roshio LOL i haven't read this book, and if i happen to see it in the library or get it for free, i will pick it up. Great review though! LOL

Jessika Entertaining review but I'm about half way through Outlander and I'm loving it. Already have the next 2 in the series ready to go. I think it's a little too girly for you. It's like a historical fiction/chick-lit. Hope you're reading something good now.

message 49: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Dude, you are so right. This was the worst book I ever tried to read. I felt so cheated, expecting time travel, history, action! And getting instead, insipid characters, stilted dialog, and pointless repetions of the heroine being thrown to the ground.

To make yourself read the whole thing? All I can say is, you must have a high tolerance for pain.

message 50: by Sidney (new)

Sidney Thank you Eric. You have saved me from the temptation of possibly trying to see what all the fuss was about. "Aye, he used me hard. An' I could nae but respond to his touch." 'Nuff said.

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