Sunday, November 15, 2009

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

I didn't finish Three Cups of Tea. It's been nine months since I started it, and now I'm absolutely sure I don't want finish it. (I'm about halfway through, and I wouldn't have even bought it to begin with had it not been a reading group selection.)

The story itself may be good, but the style of its telling could have been much, much better, and it's why I stopped. I found myself making the kinds of notes I'd make on a manuscript--e.g. word choice, fact check, this statement is in opposition to position three pages ago, this scene doesn't make sense because..., readers may find rhetorical questions unnecessary and annoying, etc.

Also, I think this book would have been much better written as a memoir. I was thrown by the fact that the book tells the story of one of the authors, but it's not written in the first person. Even with that said, though, I'm starting to shy away from memoirs written by or with the help of journalists. A lot of them just aren't good at creative nonfiction, and based on this book, I'd have to include Relin in that group.


Anonymous said...

To save yourself future annoying wasted periods of time to struggle through annoying memoirs, I think you should follow your instinct and quit reading any memoirs written by anyone beside the main biographer. We could all quit buying any book written by anyone else and it would force creative, innovative, talented and shaker movers to either write a good book or not write anything at all. Good idea, thanks for your suggestion.
Gayle Huener

bermudaonion said...

Yours is not the first negative review I've read of this book. I've got it in audio and now I'm hesitant to listen to it.

Zibilee said...

Oh, another bad review for this book! I won a copy of this one, but am really of two minds about reading it. I have read nothing but negative reviews on it, though yours was the most insightful so far. Sorry it was such a disappointment.