Say I want to buy a new book. I ask a friend what they think I should read. I look up books by authors I already like. I use the internet to find out what I should read based on what I’ve already read. I find a book that appeals to me, and I want to read a plot summary. I find one. If I’m buying the book in a shop, I simply turn the book over and read the blurb. I want to make sure it’s something I will read before I part with my ever-precious money. Even though I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zones, I see no point in buying a book that will sit gathering dust for years while I wonder what possessed me to buy it, or something that I will likely altogether hate.
The summary, or the blurb, is where the problem comes in. Far too often, the blurb tells you important plot points that would have been better as a surprise. It tells you which characters you will love, and which you will hate. It tells you that the two protagonists hate each other for most of the book and then fall in love. I’m left wondering if there’s any point in reading the book now that I’ve found out everything that happens in it.
I don’t like to be told which characters I ought to love and which I ought to hate. If the writing is good enough, and my moral compass is accurate, I should be able to figure this out on my own. I don’t want to be told that whatshisname and thingamybob are secretly in love all along. This should be obvious, and if not, it should come as a nice surprise when it is revealed. I like to be able to look back over a book after a major revelation and see if there were any hints. I was just put off from reading a quite short novel because it seemed as though the blurb described everything that was going to happen, as well as how I would feel about the protagonist at the end. A character’s personal development isn’t something I need to be warned about beforehand, and if it is, it might ruin my enjoyment of watching (reading?) them develop.
Does anyone else think this is a problem? Or do you like to go in fully informed?