Melanie's Reviews > Night Film

Night Film by Marisha Pessl
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did not like it
bookshelves: horror, mystery, read-in-2016, thriller, paranormal

i no longer want to interact with this review, so if you wanna read it... go to my blog. tl;dr - i hated this book and i thought it was offensive and hurtful in a lot of ways.
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Reading Progress

December 30, 2015 – Shelved
December 30, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
October 24, 2016 – Started Reading
October 24, 2016 – Shelved as: horror
October 24, 2016 – Shelved as: mystery
October 24, 2016 – Shelved as: read-in-2016
October 24, 2016 – Shelved as: thriller
November 5, 2016 –
80.0% "This is actually pretty painful to finish, and I can't shake the racist, transphobic, sexist comments. I feel like I'm reading a different book than all my friends did, honestly."
November 5, 2016 – Shelved as: paranormal
November 5, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-40 of 40 (40 new)

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message 1: by Bibi (new)

Bibi Oof..wow. Great review, Melanie!


Jessica ❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥ Great honest review! Sorry you didn't enjoy it more, Melanie! :(


Sher❤ The Fabulous BookLover Fab review Melanie! Well said:)


message 4: by ✰ Liz ✰ (new)

✰ Liz ✰ WOW! Your review is so thorough. I am sorry it wasn't a winner for you. xxoo


message 5: by Denisa (new)

Denisa Sorry it sucked, sweetie :(


message 6: by Mary (new)

Mary EWWWW so glad I looked up your review for this first before getting it. Thank you for saving my life once again, gurl.


Ilyse I completely agree! listening on audible now, and the transphobia in the nightclub is enough to make me DNF, also how he describes the POC in the night club. He's also so fucking stupid and a terrible journalist! He just rolls up to the night club with no plan of how he's going to blend in and extract information, and his handling of Peg is so clumsy! And he's such a shitty father as well as a misogynist


Ilyse is ineptness while managing to succeed at everything is also apart of what makes him gross and scary, well said!


Ilyse let's add fatphobic to the list (listening to tattoo parlor scene now)


message 10: by Ilyse (new) - rated it 1 star

Ilyse and "thuggish face" said like 5 times


message 11: by Megan (new) - rated it 1 star

Megan Fritz I'm in the middle of this book right now and the problematic elements are so distracting. I shouldn't be shocked that it took me this long to find a review that mentioned the fat phobia, xenophobia and transphobia, but it's really disappointing. Other than all of that, I actually like the story and the writing, but there's no excuse for this claptrap.


Sonja ✧・゚。★・゚☾ This book sounds terrible! I can't believe it's so hyped up *immediately deleting it from my want-to-read shelf*


Melanie Sonja [BadassWanderer] wrote: "This book sounds terrible! I can't believe it's so hyped up *immediately deleting it from my want-to-read shelf*"

Yeah, it's the one "Booktube book" I will never understand how they support. It's so gross and offensive!

But happy reading, Sonja love! 💗xx


Jennifer Masterson Oh no! It's not for everyone. I hope your next book is better, Melanie! Great review!


message 15: by Minni Mouse (new)

Minni Mouse This sounds atrocious.


message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Ames-Foley I know this person is being sarcastic, but you do truly seem like a joy to be around. ;) Anyway, this sounds like a book I would HATE. I'm sorry you had to slog through it, but thanks for saving some of us from having to do the same!


Melanie Sarah wrote: "I know this person is being sarcastic, but you do truly seem like a joy to be around. ;) Anyway, this sounds like a book I would HATE. I'm sorry you had to slog through it, but thanks for saving so..."

Awh, I love you, Sarah! Haha! 💗xx


Paloma I read several reviews from the Goodreads community and I was relieved to find yours... I thought perhaps I was wrong because noboody seemed to mentioned this -the narrator is racist and sexist and just when you think "oh perhaps it was just this line", no, there it appears again! One of the worst books I've read!


Rowan Oh, I'm so glad I stopped reading this book when I did. Sounds like I didn't miss anything.


Payal I agree with you! Just finished it and hated all of them. Even Ashley!


message 21: by Katie (new)

Katie Late to the party here, but thank you for this review!


Kristine I'm glad I'm not the only one who picked up on the weird sexist/racist tone of this novel. I thought I was being overly sensitive but you have confirmed my distaste of what I've read. I can handle an unlikable character, but not when the author doesn't realize they're unlikable.


Alissa Burden I also had no idea there were any racist or transphobic issues with this book prior to reading it. I am surprised no one has said anything. These problematic elements completely stood out to me when I read the book.


Adi Rocks Socks It sounds like you had a terrible experience—if I’d read it, I’m 100% sure I’d have found it terrible too. As POC myself, I detest stereotypes about ANYONE, and the transphobia is just distasteful. I will definitely not be reading this book. Thank you for the honest review!


message 25: by Sara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sara I agree, Scott was unbearable. I just wanted to throw the book at the wall!


Andrea Junker I just finished it and I wish they kept the supernatural elements. That would have saved the book


message 27: by Ludmila (new) - added it

Ludmila I am considering reading this book. I understand the points that you brought up and that you disagree with, but does it mean the book is badly written? From what I've read about it so far, it might just be accurate. America of the 20's was pretty messed-up place swarming with racists and homophobes. I've enjoyed books before that contained characters that I disagreed with or whose behavior I found unacceptable. I'll appreciate your view on this.


Dustin Oh. My. God.
I just finished and i wasn’t sure how i felt about this book, other than confused... and very unsatisfied. Everything you’ve said here makes sense. This is most likely why i didn’t enjoy this book as much as everyone else. The author did have some great imagery, but i couldn’t stop wondering “when will this get better?”
Maybe I’m just tired of hearing the POV of the typical heterosexual white male?


Rebecca Thank you SO MUCH for articulating some of my thoughts while reading this book that only gets worse and worse the more you read.


Tyler J Gray Great review! I just DNF'd it at 41%. I couldn't take it anymore.


Ellen Gail I can't lie, I completely loved this book. It got me hook line and sinker. But I was put off by the blatantly transphobic stuff, like the whole nightclub scene was just gross. And I really appreciate you writing such a thorough review and calling out all this problematic shit, some of it I would have never even picked up on otherwise.

So, thank you! I may have loved it, but that doesn't make it immune from thoughtful criticism like yours. :)


The Lazy Reader DNF at 5%. Thank you for saving me so much of my time. I would have forced myself to read on cause I though the terrible politics belonged to the narrator alone, and a POV switch would highlight it as part of his problematic personality but no! This is the author's bias! Literally from page one, everything bad becomes an analogy for third world countries??


Jungah Choi I agree with everything you said!!!!!! Exactly what I thought. Racist, transphobic, and sexist.


message 34: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I haven't read this book, but I just finished her other book, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and it was extremely fatphobic and racist.


Kristen I almost threw the whole book away the night Nora (for NO reason tbh) went into his room and made a move, and then moved out bc her feelings hurt? Boy, bye


Razik❄️ Scott was easily the worst characters i read this year. Not only is a miserable transphobic and racist misanthropist, some of stuff he says makes absolutely no sense. Remember what he said about a woman named Staci and why he thinks his wife shouldn't even trust someone who's name ends with an i. Childish and crazy I tell ya. And also don't get me started on the jokes he makes throughout the novel that don't stick the landing and the numerous pop culture references.

Also i noticed that another poc was described as having a gold tooth (Cleo the asian woman at the magic shop) just further highlighting the racism prevalent in this novel.


message 37: by Lea (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lea Saurusrex Thanks for your review, it’s everything. I wasn’t sure to be able to transcript my deception about it and my anger, but you did very well and I totally agree with everything.


message 38: by sailor (new) - added it

sailor thanks for warning me!


message 39: by Mirzhan (new) - added it

Mirzhan Irkegulov I'm very glad for your review. There is a scene, where Scott visits a private sex party and finds out the waitresses there are trans. The scene was written in a needlessly transphobic fashion, which really broke the flow for me. The book was published in 2013, it's not like she couldn't google what trans people are like.

It left an impression that she read a bunch of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler in her youth and was trying to emulate them, but without any self-reflection. A lot of their casual racism/sexism were either honest depictions of 1930s America, or due to themselves having unresolved bigoted attitudes.

Her thought process seemed to be “these guys were edgy and no-nonsense, so I'm gonna write it like I'm edgy and no-nonsense”.


Brittany McPherson I completely agree


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