Have you read books that you’d rate highly but never want to read again?
The one that springs to mind for me is The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. For those who’ve never read it (and I will do my best not to spoil it), the book is about Frank, a teenager who lives on an Scottish island and how he interacts with his family and environment.
Those of you who have read the book are probably chuckling to yourselves over how much that vague synopsis glosses over. For everyone else, know this: despite the main character being 16 years old, this is in no way a Young Adult novel. Do not buy it for your kids without reading it first.
Here’s the first line: “I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped. I already knew something was going to happen; the Factory told me.”
I recommend the book. It’s well-written and well-paced. I read it quickly and was engrossed in it.
I cannot say I enjoyed it. I cannot say it’s a favorite book. I never want to pick it up again.
Banks does a great job of creating a world that comes across as real. His characters are detailed and you understand them.
Maybe that’s why I don’t want to read it again. I don’t want to understand Frank. The book is told from his point of view. That’s not a head I want to spend more time in. This world is dark and all-too believable.
My mom thought Deliverance was a great movie, but she never wanted to see it again. Probably for the same reasons that I won’t return to The Wasp Factory (and I’m not that anxious to read or watch Deliverance again, either).
I admire what Banks did; the novel is a work of art. The Wasp Factory is a solid story. It’s just not one I want to read again.