Daisy May Johnson's Reviews > The Calling

The Calling by James Frey
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did not like it
bookshelves: war, dystopia

The reviewer sat down. She opened up her laptop. She navigated to Goodreads. She typed in the title. She found the book. She rated it one star.
She paused.
She had not enjoyed The Calling. She had found it somewhat challenging, complex, problematic.
It had begun promisingly; a good looking book is a good looking book.
It speaks of money, cash, investment.
Hope. Ambition.
But this book had not provided hope.
Or ambition.
It was not that the narrative was problematic. It had reminded her oddly, confusedly, strangely of The Amazing Race. It was The Amazing Race meets The Hunger Games and, in a way, she could deal with that. She could even deal with the paragraphs that seemed to be averse to indents, to the stilted and problematic third person, or to text that used one adjective when three could do, because this looked like it could be an interesting book.
But The Calling was not an interesting book.
It was a bad book.
She began to read parts of it out to the people she lived with, asking them to share in paragraphs that read like the literary equivalent of a hernia. A moon was 21 degrees above the horizon. Cars drove through countries and each and every country was named. Characters were bored, and the causes of their boredom were listed for the next five thousand paragraphs.
This book read, she realised, like somebody who was trying to hit word count.
Like word count, the count of words, the word of counts.
And she liked some of it, even though she was appalled by how badly it was written. How poorly it was scribed. How problematically it was inked.
But mostly she disliked it.
She did not normally review books like this, but The Calling had frustrated her. Annoyed her. Made her disgruntled.
It was in the distrust of the story for itself. There was a good story underneath it all, she realised, but it was so desperately cloaked with something else. Something that wanted to dazzle and spin. Something that felt it necessary to point out every little piece of detail in the scene. Something that could squeeze thirteen hundred words out of a person standing up.
Something that felt a little bit frantic and a whole lot of unnecessary.
She did not normally review books like this.
It did not feel constructive.
But The Calling had made itself an exception.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 24, 2017 – Shelved
April 24, 2017 – Shelved as: war
April 24, 2017 – Shelved as: dystopia

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Sam (new)

Sam Whitehouse I've had a copy of this for a few years but never read it. Looks like that won't change.


Daisy May Johnson Sam wrote: "I've had a copy of this for a few years but never read it. Looks like that won't change."

Heh. I think it is worth reading if only to decide What Not To Do ..!


message 3: by Sam (new)

Sam Whitehouse Maybe I'll give it a shot. I don't like the author's way of doing business, but I enjoyed I Am Number Four.


Daisy May Johnson Yes! I like I Am Number Four too, but this made me go craaaaazy. Good luck :)


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