3 Overrated Books- Friday Reflections

Being an avid reader, I read all kinds of books. I read almost any genre, from classics to modern day Sci-fi and from romantic novels to murder mysteries. Being a student of Comparative Literature, I had books like Mahabharata, Macbeth, Danton’s Death, Prince, Gita, Ulysses, 100 years of solitude, etc as part of my curriculum. I sincerely feel I had an awesome syllabus both in graduation and post graduation that further endorsed my reading habits.

I have often picked up books underestimating their potential but later found them to be amazing and the vice versa also happened, where I picked up a book after reading great reviews and yet found them to be boring. For example, recently I picked up the book by Twinkle Khanna called The legend of Lakshmi Prasad with very less expectation yet found it to be great book.

Final Lowland cover.indd

On the contrary, here I would like to talk about the 3 books that I found over-rated. The first one is Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I am otherwise very fond of Jhumpa Lahiri, I absolutely loved her first three books The Interpreter of Maladies, Namesake and The Unaccustomed Earth. With much expectation, I went and bought Lowland as soon as it was released in India. However the book hugely disappointed me. There was a huge hype regarding the book before it was released but I found the book pretentious. The history of the naxalite movement was in a way distorted and the main protagonist appeared confused. Jhumpa Lahiri wanted to give a feminist twist to the novel but I think she failed in characterisation of the main protagonists who appeared more cardboard than real.


The second book is Devdas by Sarat Chandra Chatterjee. I have read the original Bengali book and hated it. Yes, hated it. However Indian film industry seems to be in love with this book and the character of Devdas. Numerous movies almost in all Indian languages were made on Devdas and the book was translated in all languages from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. I fail to understand India’s obsession with an alcoholic womanizer.


The third book is The Curious incident of the Dog in the night time by Mark Haddon. The book is considered a masterpiece. It was gifted to me as a farewell gift by my colleagues from previous office. I tried to read it but somehow I am unable to read it after few pages. A mystery novel should keep the reader hooked however this book always distracts me.


This post was written for Friday Reflections hosted by Sanch and Corinne.


37 thoughts on “3 Overrated Books- Friday Reflections

  1. Eric Alagan says:

    I’ve not read any of these 3 books but agree with you – some hyped up books turn out to be utter bores. The reverse have also proven true.

    I don’t usually buy fresh-off-the-press books – no matter what the reviews. Instead, I first borrow from the library. If hooked and completed – I’ll then buy my own copy. After several months, I usually read them a second time and these never disappoint.

    Having been doing this since the 1970s – and works for me.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I think this is a great idea, it saves you from spending money on useless books and also doesn’t cramp up your bookshelf. However the place where I live doesn’t have a good library around, so I often land up buying books online. Many times the bargain pays off but often they do disappoint.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. vishalbheeroo says:

    The only thing in common with us today is that we wrote about books. I loved all the books that you mentioned. However, I found CB’s latest offering One Indian Girl very disappointing. I think that it can happen with expectations. I loved Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan a lot and now I will start The House that BJ Built:)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The Unknown Journey Ahead says:

    I have not read the first two. But (showing how tastes can be so different) I read “The Curious Incident….” and loved it. I do have an autistic brother in law and, although the author denies that the young protagonist had Aspergers, that didn’t stop me from reading and enjoying the book as the story of a young man who is “different”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I think liking or disliking a book is very subjective…When I started curious incident I had expectations that we usually have from a murder mystery..but I found it very slow paced…and keeping my concentration through the narrative proved challenging…I am sure many people loved it or else it would have never received the award….Thanks for visiting an commenting 🙂


  4. Sandile says:

    Out of the three, I’ve only read ‘A Curious Incident…’. I really enjoyed it, strangely I didn’t read it as a murder-mystery but more as the story of a boy trying to make sense of the world around him. I came across Lahiri in an article somewhere and realised that I didn’t know this author at all. I’ll have to try one of her books that you enjoyed.

    I can understand how some books can be disappointing when one approaches them with certain expectations. As you mentioned, the experience of reading a book is always very subjective. Here are 3 books that are considered classics of bestsellers and that I thought were overrated:
    (1) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    (2) Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
    (3) Rabbit, Run by John Updike

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Esha Mookerjee-Dutta says:

    The taste for books reflects our individual choices and I do think what we find unbearable might actually be totally unputdownable for another. Having said that, Jhumpa Lahiri does disappoint with Lowlands. I say this even though I’m a huge fan of her writing and loved all her earlier ones just as you mentioned. Also ditto about Haddon’s book. Haven’t been able to read it even after several attempts. It disappointed me big time. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sanchwrites says:

    I’ve only read The Curious Incident and it was not bad; not fantastic but still enjoyable. I think books are very personal to readers which is why probably some resonate with us even if they aren’t bestsellers or don’t if they are prize-winners

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Exactly Sanchi…books are personal things…you may pick up one random book and fall in love with it…on the other hand he may not enjoy reading a classic. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


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