Books that aren’t what you thought they were

BooksImage Source

Have you ever been in that situation where you have books that you love and read over and over again, and then a few years later you read them again, and they are just not quite as good as you remember it? It’s a bit of a bummer isn’t it?

I used to read a lot when I was younger so there are a few books that are like this for me. First of all the typical teenage books – Sweet Valley and the Babysitters club (I think I had about 40 of them) which upon reading them as an adult I discovered they are actually really badly written, and half of the book is just repeating the same introduction over and over again. Nevertheless I still take some time whenever I am home to skim through some of these books, just for the sake of reminiscing.

Then there is the other kind of disappointment, the one where you read a book thinking it will be amazing and it just doesn’t live up to expectation. For example, I read Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because my friend lent it to me and promised me that it was amazing and the twist at the end would ”blow my mind!!!” Now, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I thought it was fairly common knowledge about the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character(s) so I thought it must be something else that is happening, and was waiting for it throughout the whole book, and when it turned out “the twist” was what I knew all along, it was a little bit of a let-down. That is not the books fault though, but my own!

Another one of my favourite books when I was a kid was Robinson Crusoe – I absolutely loved reading about him being stranded on a deserted island and how he managed to survive, I must have read that about 20-25 times between being 9 and 12. A few years later I saw Robinson Crusoe in the school library and decided to re-read it, and that, ladies and gentlemen is how I got familiar of the notion of abridged books, because this Robinson Crusoe was a completely different story, focusing all on how he travelled to all these colonies before he got stranded (boring) and very little on the actual island stay. A very different reading experience and not what I had expected, I was so disappointed! Come to think of it I don’t know if I actually read two different abridged versions of the same book, or in fact two completely different books with the same name. Maybe I need to re-read Robinson Crusoe this year and make sure it’s the unabridged version.

Finally, I can’t write about this without mentioning one of my possibly most traumatic reading mistakes! Yes it was traumatic, yet quite funny at the same time. – When we were younger and had to stay home from school because we were ill or whatnot, my mum had a cupboard where she kept emergency entertainment and gifts – most of the times these were books.

So one day I was at home, I think with Scarlet fever and my mum brought me a new book to read, –  Little Women. It was a Swedish translation and my mum hadn’t read this particular one, but she knew the story so she knew it was a good fit for me. Well, I loved the book! I read it over and over and over again, couldn’t get enough of it. It was my happy place for a few years. And so the story would have ended here, except one day I went to see the new movie that came out, and here is where I discovered the fatal mistake. The book my mum had given me was also an abridged version, Even worse, it appeared to be part one of 2 or something like that, except it wasn’t marked anywhere, so I have no idea what the publishers had decided, but my book ended on a very happy note – Beth had been ill, but had powered through, Dad had finally come home from the war and it was Christmas! Everyone is happy. The end. I guess they couldn’t be bothered translating anymore and decided to leave it there?

Well, as you can imagine I was very confused when halfway through the film they had already reached the end of “my story” and there was still about an hour to go! Alarm bells were ringing when Beth got sick again.. oh my goodness! I felt like Phoebe in Friends when she found out about Bambi! Mind you, I do quite fancy reading the complete edition of Little Women now, it has just taken me about 15 years to get to this point! Lol

Have you had any reading experiences like this, re-read any favourites that turned out not to be so good after all? Or any books that you had way too high expectations on?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Bookish and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Books that aren’t what you thought they were

  1. Claire Duffy says:

    I read the Sweet Valley High and Babysitters’ Club books too – now you’ve got me intrigued to take a peek at one or two of them again!! I’m currently working my way through an abridged version of Onskan – it’s adapted for people learning Swedish. So far it seems to be following the story of the film so far, but who knows if there’s more in the original book!

    Like

  2. bevchen says:

    O no… I’ve just realised my copy of Little Women is the same one you read! I’m pretty sure it ended on a high note! Or maybe I’ve just blanked the ending from my memory? I feel like I’m going to have to pick my copy up next time I visit England so I can investigate. I’ve also been meaning to read the rest of the books in the series (I think there are 4?), but obviously I can’t until I’ve read the full version of the first one!

    Like

    • bevchen says:

      Phew.. just looked it up. Beth dies in Good Wives – later editions published both books in on efition, and the film is based on the version of Little Women that is both books books. So my copy of Little Women is right and I now need to read Good Wives.

      Like

    • I think the book probably does end on a high note in the end, it’s just gets a bit sad in between.. not that II know, turns out I havent read it! lol

      Like

  3. Haha bad times about Little Women. I have never read a book twice so I don’t have this problem at all haha!

    Like

  4. Sophie says:

    Oh I was absolutely OBSESSED with the Babysitters Club! We donated them all a long time ago, but now I really want to take a peak … Did you ever see the movie? I think I saw it about 8 years ago for the last time and even then I found it pretty cringe worthy 😛
    Also, how sad but also kind of funny about the abridged Little Women! Whoops!!

    Like

  5. That situation with Beth and Little Women would have DEVESTATED me! Nonetheless, Little Women remains my #1 favourite book of all time!

    Like

    • I definitely have to read it again now, because this has just made me confused whether I have read all of the book, or just half of it, or if there is a sequel I should have read or whatnot.. you learn something new every day!

      Like

      • bevchen says:

        From what I’ve read today there were originally 4 books. Little Women, Good Wives, something else (Little Men?) then Jo’s Boys. Little Women is the famous one everybody knows. At some point, Little Women and Good Wives were combined into one book, also called Little Women – which was then made into a film.,Bbut the original “Little Women (which ends before Meg gets married) still exists as well. It seems like I (and you) read the “real” Little Women, so now we need to read Good Wives. Some people have read the “new” version of Little WOmen, which includes Good Wives, so in their version Beth did die. In ours she was sick but then got well again. Are you completely confused yet? 😉

        Like

      • Lol so met me get this straight – the thing I’ve been frustrated / confused about for years turns out to actually be the right way round from the start and the film just made it all trickier! Ah well… I guess what we’ve learnt from this is that I still need to read those books!

        Like

  6. When Beth died I cried for ages. I had a similar sort of experience with Peter Pan, I loved it when I was little and then I re-read it and realised it was dark and kind of depressing… x

    Like

    • I know, I never read Peter Pan, but I started reading it a few year back and was amazed at how dark it was – This one I blame Disney for.. I seem to remember the Jungle book was kind of similar.. or at least there was a whole lot more different stories to the jungle book than I was aware of. And don’t get me started on Mary Poppins! Disney has got a lot to answer for..

      Like

  7. Kerri says:

    I don’t think I’ve had any bad reading experiences like this. Mostly, I just don’t finish the book because it takes me too long to finish and then the film just fills me in with the missing pieces haha

    Like

    • I should specidy that these experiences werent that the books themselves were bad.. well apart from maybe the second version of Robinson Crusoe, that was pretty boring.. If a book is really bad I usually just stop reading it, such as for example 50 shades of grey.. that was horrible. Might still go and see the movie though.. maybe

      Like

  8. Pottsy says:

    Watching the Little Women film must have been so traumatic for you, I didn’t know abridged versions could just miss out huge chunks of the story like that!

    Like

    • lol, it wasnt as bad as that to be honest, but definitely not what I expected! It turns out I didnt read an abridged version of the book after all, but the film I think maybe used the next book as well hence the confusion. Abridged books can take a whole heap out though! I remember buying les Miserables and it was around 300 pages. Well, when I then borrowed it in the library and it was two books over 600 pages each long I figured they must have taken a fair bit out of that one!

      Like

      • Pottsy says:

        They probably did you a favour with les miserables. I read the long version and think Victor Hugo would definitely have benefited from a bit of brutal editing at the time. There are entire chapters explaining the Parisian sewage system when all he needed to say for the benefit of the book was ‘The sewers mirror the streets above.’ Was hard work wading through those (pun intended) 🙂

        Like

      • haha, yes I remember that all too well! I think there are other author that might benefit from the same (looking at you George RR Martin!) but it was still one of my favourite books that I’ve read, although I dont think I would ever read the whole thing again!

        Like

      • Pottsy says:

        Yes, it’s actually impressive that despite a distinct lack of editing that doesn’t actually detract from the fact it’s an amazing book. I’m trying to avoid George RR Martin for now, as I think the fact he still hasn’t finished his series would be too frustrating!

        Like

      • Definitely wait until they are all finished (in about 15 years going at this rate! By the time the next book is out I will have forgotten half the storylines!

        Like

  9. Elise says:

    That’s funny, I just got Little Women from someone at work yesterday! Now that you mention daft abridgements, I might have read one of those too because I was always confused as to whether Beth died or not! (Although that Friends episode cleared things up ;)). And I also read BSC again a couple of years ago and man, they were badly written! Mind you, I was pretty aware of that at the time too…

    Like

  10. Samantha says:

    Little Women is my all time favourite book, so I’m glad you also enjoyed it as a child. I think the original book was in two parts (Little Women and Good Wives) which in more modern copies have been squeezed together into one. That might be why you were confused! x

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s