It’s OK to Hate Ernest Hemingway

I recently read my third Neil Gaiman novel (The Graveyard Book) and didn’t overly care for it. It was just OK. I’ve read two other Gaiman books (American Gods and Good Omens) because writer friends keep telling me how much I should love him. People tell me I’ll love him because he’s quirky, because of his “British” humor, because of his use of magic realism, because he’s a graphic novelist and I enjoy graphic novels.

But you know what? I don’t enjoy Neil Gaiman’s writing…and that’s OK.

I feel like too often “book people” are pressured into liking certain writers because “THEY’RE FREAKIN’ (INSERT NAME OF BELOVED AND CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED WRITER HERE). We pretend to like certain writers or (worse) pretend we’ve read books we haven’t because we won’t seem smart or nerdy enough to all the other super mecha book nerds (who have obviously read every single book ever written by a human being). As I’ve matured and stopped giving a shit I’ve come to learn how pointless all this author worship really is.

For a long time I felt really guilty because I hate Ernest Hemingway’s novels. I do. The writing’s great, and I dig the staccato sentences and all, but they’re just really, really–boring. I mean, get the freakin’ fish on the boat already, old man! Plus, he seems to really hate people (which might explain the whole “shotgun in the mouth” thing). And, yes, before you try to convert me, I’ve read all the Hemingway classics, I’ve reread them as an adult, and I still think they’re as exciting as a rainbow was to Ray Charles. Now if we’re talking about Hemingway’s short stories, then sign my ass up. But his novels? No thank you. I don’t care for them.

AND THAT’S OK.

It doesn’t mean Hemingway wasn’t a great writer. Hemingway’s legacy won’t be affected by my disdain for his work. It doesn’t mean I’m illiterate. My self-worth shouldn’t plummet because I’m not into the dude with the beard and the shotgun. In the overall scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter what I think of Hemingway’s novels. To each his own and all that.

So the super book nerds of the world can say adios to their firearms and hang out with the elderly on the ocean and watch the sun rise on a bullfight while boozin’ it up. I’m just not into it.

AND THAT’S OK.

Ernest Hemingway

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~ by themoderntranscendentalist on July 15, 2014.

One Response to “It’s OK to Hate Ernest Hemingway”

  1. People like what they like and dislike what they dislike. I agree and think that’s completely fine. I seriously can’t understand why people have such a hard time accepting that everyone has different tastes.

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