Monday Musings | Disappointed by Cover Copy

Reading a book in a bar

Have you ever finished a book feeling a little unsatisfied but unable to pinpoint exactly why? Like… you didn’t dislike the book, per se, but you felt vaguely let down? This happened to me last weekend, and after thinking about it for a while, I realized why: my interpretation of the book’s cover copy was different than what the book ended up being.

The book in question is 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad (coming out tomorrow from Penguin Random House Canada), which is mainly about Lizzie and her relationship with food and self-image. I did get that the book was going to be centered around those topics from the copy, but what I felt let down by was it was described as “hilarious” both in the description and in a quote. I don’t want to say that this book won’t be hilarious to other people, but I will say that I assumed that I would be laughing out loud throughout the reading process. So, when I wasn’t feeling that catharsis, I felt like something was missing. Another reason why I felt thrown off — and one could argue that this is my own shortsightedness — was that I expected the book to be a linear narrative that follows Lizzie smoothly from one stage of her life to the next. What I didn’t realize was that the book is in fact 13 linked short stories (again, maybe I should have deduced that from the title?). It was a little disorienting when the first chapter was written in first person only to have to adjust to second person in the second chapter. It’s not that short stories are bad, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting to be reading a book of stories, if that makes sense.

So, sadly, I finished the book feeling underwhelmed. I may enjoy the book more if/when I do a re-read of it, but I don’t feel compelled to do so yet.

Have you ever been disappointed by a book’s description?

9 thoughts on “Monday Musings | Disappointed by Cover Copy

  1. Andi M. (@estellasrevenge) says:

    This is such a big challenge to publishers and one I feel like they shirk off too often. I would be especially put off if it was not identified in some way as linked vignettes or short stories. I personally love them, but I know a lot of people who would be put off by this discovery.

  2. Katie says:

    That happens to me quite frequently, and I’m always left feeling somewhat guilty. Like it was *my* fault (if there’s even any to be had?) for reading a perfectly fine book at oftentimes just the wrong time.

  3. TJ @ MyBookStrings says:

    I think the worst cover copy “oops” I’ve seen has been for The Night Circus. Whoever wrote that copy obviously wanted the book to sound just like Harry Potter, but other than magicians, the two books have very little in common. Thankfully, I loved The Night Circus and didn’t feel let down at all because the story didn’t match the cover copy.

    • lauratfrey says:

      Oh yes, The Night Circus!! Though I was not only let down by the cover copy, but by reviews and the general hype… that book was just NOT at all what I expected it to be.

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