Nancy's Reviews > The Debt to Pleasure

The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester
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's review
Nov 12, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, food-and-drink, abandoned, waste-of-trees
Recommended to Nancy by: John Laferriere
Read in November, 2008

I wanted to love this book. It was highly recommended by a co-worker who is one of only a few passionate readers I know in real life. The writing style was elaborate and pretentious, the sentences overlong, rambling and wordy. Many passages were darkly humorous and the food descriptions were mouth-watering. The main character was clearly disturbed. If you are paying enough attention (I wasn't always), then you will find clues early on as to how disturbed he is. Yet, I am not interested enough in continuing. At this stage, I'll skim quickly to the end so I can at least attempt to have an intelligent discussion with my co-worker and then move on to something more engaging.
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Reading Progress

11/26 page 58
11/26 page 58
21.32% "clever use of language, witty, pretentious, just not a lot of fun. But I'll keep reading..."
11/30 page 79
29.04% "I think I'm going to stop here. This book is just not engaging me at all."
01/11 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Jon (new)

Jon I love your "waste-of-trees" shelf name! Since joining GoodReads, I've only had one book I couldn't finish and it was a book club reading selection for Constant Reader in October I believe. Other than that, I've been very lucky in the recommendations I receive here. Real life recommendations, like the one you mentioned in this review, often do not turn out so well.

message 2: by Nancy (last edited Aug 29, 2012 09:02AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Nancy A number of the books I couldn't finish were recommended by people whose taste is similar to my own and were quite popular.

There were two I didn't finish Little Big and Winter's Tale, but I do intend to revisit them. They were lovely books; perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for them.

message 3: by Sath (new)

Sath I like the waste-of-trees too! My version is plainly and unabashadly just called 'crap'. haha.

message 4: by Foxthyme (new)

Foxthyme LOL! Hope your co-worker isn't on Goodreads!

Nancy Haha! No, I don't think he is, unless he joined without telling me.

message 6: by James (new)

James Thane It's always a dilelmma when a friend recommends a book and you read it on the basis of the recommendation only to dislike it. Some people can easily accept the fact that your tastes or opions might differ, but others seem to take it as a personal affront that you weren't as knocked out by a book as they were.

Nancy I was a big chicken and didn't tell John I disliked the book. I quickly skimmed it, looked up plot details online, and managed to have some discussion about it. Listening to his comments made me wonder if I should have stuck it out and given it another chance.

He hasn't recommended any books since, though we continued to talk about the books we were reading.

Andrew Stick to Big Macs with fries,Nancy!! ...if it's literary calories you're after...Lanchester is an acquired mayonnaise required! Bon appetit,mon petit choufleur!

Nancy Just the mustard, hold the mayo. And you can keep the cauliflower too.

Andrew Nancy wrote: "Just the mustard, hold the mayo. And you can keep the cauliflower too."

Glad to know you can take a joke with your full English breakfast! Nancy with the laughing eyes? Sweet or sour,words have power!

Penny Very very wordy, long winded and meandering. quite witty I suppose but far too abstract for my tastes.

message 12: by Nancy (new) - rated it 1 star

Nancy I'm so glad I'm not the only one who didn't care for this.

Susie I'm sorry you didn't read it until the end. I was reading it while on vacation with my daughter and kept complaining about it until I got near the half way point, and then I LOVED it. Absolutely loved it. It is now probably one of my favourites! I understand your frustration - my daughter kept saying to me, "I thought you HATED that book!".

Brian susie: had same experience. really glad i read through it. was tempted to reread the whole thing after finishing as there were obviously (in retrospect) lots of clues about how disturbing character is. first 100 pages, i would've rated like nancy, but will probably end up with a 4 or 4.5. i do wonder if i'm coming away with such a high opinion because of the dramatic contrast between my early impression and my impression at the end....

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