DNF? …WTF?

I had another Epiphany this week, one of those ah-ha moments Oprah and Gayle are always talking about. And it didn’t involve a good looking guy in his twenties. This time it involved a negative book review I read…and…this thing called DNF.

First, I must have missed this one completely. I had no idea there were people reviewing books with a DNF rating. I saw DNF; I said WTF? Then I googled DNF and found out it means Did Not Finish.

So I said WTF again, and then finished reading the DNF book review (I DF-ed it :). I’m not mentioning names or links. One, because I don’t want to offer the guilty any free publicity. Two, because I don’t want to embarrass the author.

What I read wasn’t a book review at all. It was either a book roast garnered to attract attention on a blog, or it was just some big mouth with an aggressive, annoying voice, bloviating. ( Bloviating = a long winded pompous discourse from someone trying to make a point…in my own defense, I knew this one; just not DNF)

After I finished reading the review, I did what I did the last time I read a review like this. I clicked over to amazon and bought the book. It never fails. Every single thing that made this particular reviewer knock the book, turned out to be the same thing that made me want to buy the book. This time the reviewer didn’t shudder and cross her legs. But the gist of the review was the same.

This DNF thing passes me by completely. I’m thinking it’s some sort of cutsie internet thing…like WTF and BFF…that catches on big time with those who don’t lead very interesting lives. Maybe it’s a way to validate underachievers? When I start a book, I persevere until I’m finished with the book, like I do with everything else in my life. I’m not a quitter. And if I don’t finish a book I don’t comment in public and review the book, nor would I be dumb enough to admit it in public. Besides, Authors are known to do interesting things as novels progress. I hated the beginning of “Freedom” by Joanthan Franzen. I felt like DNF-ing it in the third chapter, and kicking myself in the ASS for buying the book. But I continued and I’m glad I did. I wound up loving “Freedom.” I don’t believe it’s possible to get the entire book until it’s been fully read. I felt the same way about John Irving’s, “Last Night in Twisted River.” But I did finish, and wound up loving it.

I could go deeper with this post. The DNF review I read seemed to revolve around the reviewer’s transparent problems with sexuality (or lack of knowledge when it comes to sex). I’ve seen that one before when it comes to erotic romance and erotica, and it’s never pretty. The people who normally buy and read erotic romance and erotica, and love erotic romance and erotica, are a discreet crowd and they don’t leave public book reviews anywhere. They don’t even show their book covers. But they keep reading and enjoying. So there’s very little to go by when it comes to book reviews for erotic romance and erotica, and unfortunately authors wind up with one or two DNF reviews…written by sexual invalids…that last on the Internet forever.

So those who do love erotica, trust me on this. The main point here is that I found a great book thanks to a DNF book review, and all’s well that ends well. Check it out sometime if you don’t believe me, especially if you like reading erotica and erotic romance. Nine times out of ten you’ll find one of the best books you’ve ever read thanks to the sexual hang-ups and inadequacies of a book reviewer.

And, best of all, I learned what DNF meant. Cute.

5 thoughts on “DNF? …WTF?

  1. LMAO @ WTF & DNF :PI'm with you Ryan. If you start a book, finish it. And if you don't finish it, don't review it! Love the book or hate it, how can anyone possibly give a true review if they haven't read the damn book? It's like kids who cheat on their book reports by reviewing the movie instead.

  2. I wouldn't give a review if I hadn't read something in full. I sometimes do half reviews here while I'm reading something, but always with the intention of following up with a full review.And I'm not even a reviewer…I make a point of that all the time.

  3. I've only not finished one book. I didn't review it. I emailed the author to say it wasn't for me and I gave it back.I have struggled through some pretty bad books just to have bragging rights later. How can you review something if you don't really know what happens?

  4. When I start a book, I persevere until I'm finished with the book,Nope, not me. Reading for me should never be a chore that I have to FORCE myself to do. It's fun, it's entertainment, it's SUPPOSED to be enjoyable. I am not going to waste my time reading something that is not enjoyable for me when there are a billion books that are waiting for me. However I do not review DNF books, for a variety of reasons. As a reader I do find DNF reviews helpful which are not really reviews of the book so much as why the reader didn't finish it. They can be useful if they are fair and concise and not just excuses to dump on an author/book. Sometimes like you, the issues that made someone dislike a book are ones I like and may encourage me to try it, and other times it has helped me save my money because I know I will have the same issues as someone else. Not all books are for all people so just because someone rates it as DNF doesn't mean it's not a good book, so unless the author hopes to write a universally appealing book (good luck with that), then DNF is a fact of life.

  5. I'm struggling with "Water for Elephants" right now. I just don't like it, but I'm determined to finish it. The reason I do this is because I know how most writers think while they are writing. They don't do everything up front. They always hold back. And nine times out of ten I still might not like the book, but I'm glad I finished it.

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