Previously on Exit Page Right, we talked about my bookish turnoffs and what leads me down to the DNF Door. *Cue clip montage and cheesy voiceover narration* During today’s episode, I want to broaden my horizons and discuss the reasons the bookish community as a whole chooses to throw in the proverbial towel and DNF books. To find out more, I donned my Sherlock Holmes hat (the one that Buttercup Cumbersnatch hates in the BBC show), grabbed my trusty magnifying glass (I don’t actually have one of those – but I should), and took to the internet. (Because that’s the place to discover the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, amirite???)
Using my handy-dandy
notebook Google Forms, I was able to survey thirteen different book bloggers about their biggest “bookish turn-offs” and why they personally decide to not finish a book. So, take my hand and I’ll show you the world what makes these readers put a book down:
“If I get secondhand embarrassment from the characters, if the narrator/pov of a book is confusing and I can’t follow along with the story, if the main female character is naive and believes she ‘needs a man'”
“What gets me immediately more likely to DNF a book is when the romance turns really messy e.g. the MC not having an agency around the love interest or the love interest mistreating the MC and it being framed as ‘romantic’. Another definite turn-off is girl on girl hate.”
“Boring and dragging plot, little to no character development, bland and one dimensional characters – if a book has all three it is all but guaranteed to land in my DNF pile.”
“Too many cliches, unlikable protagonists, boring narratives, and when too many ‘super impossible events happen to oh so conveniently save the MC.'”
“It honestly depends on the genre for me! For example, with contemporaries, I cannot tolerate a whiny, immature MC. For fantasies, I cannot get through formula books that basically turn the book into another The Selection x The Hunger Games read. For diverse reads, horrible/stereotypical rep will definitely turn me off!”
“Mostly if the story’s just way too slow and nothing happens in the first 100 pages. Or if the main character is.. well.. getting on my nerves non-stop from the start. I always try to reach the 100 pages-mark though. That’s when I allow myself to stop reading if I’m really not feeling it.”
“Contrivances are a huge pet peeve! Give us legitimate motivations, don’t just have your character do whatever, but try to have them act like a real person. People follow patterns and rarely deviate (hint, unless there is a reason!)”
Lenny Mullican @ Lenny Literary
(whose website has since died):
“I’ll often DNF a book if there is too much description. I don’t mind lyrical writing, but if you spend 5 pages telling me what a building looks like I’m outta there. I will also DNF if a book is heading in one direction that I loved, but then all of a sudden changes directions in a way that doesn’t make sense at all! (Maybe this is more DNF a series rather than a book, but can count for both.)”
“I’ve DNF’ed because of stereotyping that borders on or crosses over into sexism, racism and so on. I also DNF if the heroine acts really stupidly. Sometimes, in order to appear strong, a heroine is so set on doing everything herself that she constantly gets herself in danger. E.G. there’s this really strong athlete/werewolf/marine love interest, yet the heroine tries to rescue her brother/son/puppy by herself without telling the guy, possibly getting herself caught or wounded, and then we’re back to damsel in distress.”
“Instalove or eye-rolly romance. But mostly just triggers!”
“1) MCs who I can’t relate to, whether they are cliched, too perfect or shallow, and 2) too slow pace.”
“Mostly the writing, if it seems too …blah. If the violence becomes too important and there is too much focus on unnecessary details.”
“Captivity is a huge one for me – if a story fails to pull me in, it’s likely going to get a DNF. Poor writing or editing is another big one – if a book is riddled with errors, I’m going to get frustrated fast!”
A BIG thanks to all of the wonderful bloggers who answered my questions and participated in my survey! You all are amazing! I couldn’t blog without you 🙂
What did you think of these bloggers’ reasons for DNFing a book?
Do you agree with them? Why or why not?
Share your thoughts in the comments!