Recently one of my friends checked out a book from the library. She meant to pick up the popular classic, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury but accidentally snagged his other novel, Farewell Summer (now that I look at the Goodreads, I realize that she got the third book in the series). She started reading and a few minutes later, while talking to another person, casually mentioned that she was going to go back to the library to return the book and get the book she actually wanted. Now this usually wouldn’t faze me in any way. I understand that it wasn’t the book she wanted. But what really inspired this post was that right after saying that, she said that the book was weird and that she didn’t like it.
Now I was surprised. I said, “But you literally just started the book.”
And she replied saying the writing was strange.
“How much have you read?”
“Like twenty pages. I can usually tell if I like a book based on the first twenty pages.”
Cue my gasping.
Okay okay I know a lot of people can drop a book after twenty pages. But personally, I have to give it at least 50-100 pages before I can warrant giving up.
Anyways, it started this argument where she would quote some of the writing and I’d rebut it with some completely asinine reason that it’s not bad. Then the other girls at the table joined in. Two of us said that you could totally judge a book on 20 pages while the other two didn’t.
Well it made me wonder something. Can you accurately judge a novel based off of the first twenty pages?
As someone who read a lot, I argued that you couldn’t.
One of the girls said that only exception was Harry Potter because “it’s Harry Potter!”
While Harry Potter is a series that I like, it does not mean it can be exempted from the “20 pages and drop rule”. If I’m perfectly honest, the first time I tried to read Philosopher’s Stone, I could not bring myself to care about Hagrid delivering Harry onto the Dursley’s doorstep. It was only the second attempt at reading it that made me a fan.
So of course I tell her that that is a terrible reason.
Since then, I have considered my opinion and identified why I thought this way. And most of them are from my experiences reading.