To Finish or to DNF

I used to read every book all the way through. (Great Expectations would have been my great exception, had it not been required for high school English.)

Once I started to put down books that I wasn’t loving (the term DNF- “did not finish”), I wish I had started way sooner. Life is too short to waste time reading books you do not like! Some reviewers/bloggers rate books they DNF. I have in the past but now only rate those I complete. This stems from my belief that the role of reviewers is to guide readers more so than bashing writers. I will often write a “review” that I DNF’d and why, but don’t think I can give an accurate star rating. Many times endings are the best parts and add layers of meaning and depth.

Here are two recent reads I decided to DNF and why.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

I was disappointed because I wanted to love this– full of Spanish, mental health, YA, and more. The pacing was slow for me and I couldn’t make myself like/root for the protagonist. These tend to be reasons why I stop reading– not enough tension or not liking the characters.

The Fix

The Fix by Natasha Sinel

This was another book I was looking forward to reading to with mental health themes. And another book with an immediately unlikable protagonist (ie the book starts with her emotionally cheating on her boyfriend). At the beginning, her acquaintance (they only met twice!) is in the psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. She tries to visit him and feels like she could have helped/prevented it/etc (again– they only met twice!). While (other reviewers have revealed) she does have a personal connection to his story, this sort of post-tragedy self-importance/savior-complex from someone outside the survivors’ life irritates me (in fiction and in real life).

2 thoughts on “To Finish or to DNF

  1. jyvurentropy says:

    I tend to enjoy reading unlikeable characters. It also seems like it should be expected with “I’m not your perfect Mexican daughter”-she says right in the title she isn’t perfect. I remember reading that author’s tweet about how disappointed she was that she couldn’t write a flawed POC character and that so many people hated the book, simply because she wrote a realistic and flawed character.
    I prefer a flawed character who has unlikeable traits over some perfect hero any day


    • mollyfennig says:

      I appreciate your point of view. I think unlikable and imperfect are different. I love flawed characters– many times this provides the best characterization and plot. I didn’t like this particular character, though. Her anxiety, etc aren’t the problem– its the voice, lack of tension/immediate personal desires, etc that make it hard to root for her, with or without flaws.


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