DNF – All-American Girl and Children of the New Forest

I’ve had two Did-Not-Finish [DNF] books this past month.  Sometimes when I put a book down, it’s not a final sign-off.  Sometimes a book just doesn’t match my mood at the time, or another book takes priority due to an impending due date at the library or similar reason.  But in the case of these two books that I checked out from the library, I don’t think I will try them again.

All-American Girl by Meg Cabot

I’ve actually never read a book by YA lit queen Meg Cabot before.  I read a review of All-American Girl on another blogger’s website that praised the narrator’s voice and the likability of the protagonist.  Unfortunately, though I liked the fact that the book was set in D.C., the narrator didn’t click with me.  Perhaps it’s that I just don’t like being in a teenager’s head – there’s an element of cluelessness there that I sometimes can’t put up with.  Also there were a lot of references to pop culture and it felt like too much clutter.

Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat

This was supposed to be my fifth book for my challenge of reading 19 Books Older than I am in 2010.  It was the book for the decade 1840-1849.  Unfortunately, Children of the New Forest managed to be boring even though the children’s family home is burned down and they must go in hiding from Cromwell’s soldiers.  Part of the dullness can be attributed to the characterization: the children are dutiful and two-dimensional.  There is no real personality there.

In addition, there is this gem of a line early in the book:

“But, mercy on us! What will become of the children?” said Agatha, as they walked along, her fears for herself having, up to this time, made her utterly forgetful of them. “Poor things! And Martha has left them.”

“Yes, indeed; what will become of the dear babes?” said the cook, half-crying.

Now Jacob, knowing that the children of such a Malignant as Colonel Beverley would have sorry treatment if discovered, and knowing also that women were not always to be trusted, determined not to tell them how they were disposed of.

Now I have read other books that have contained sexist sentiments and ideas, but it really is not worth reading a book that is both dull and sexist.  For 1840-1849, I think I’ll read a book of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays instead.


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7 responses to “DNF – All-American Girl and Children of the New Forest

  1. I think Meg Cabot is a nostalgic taste- a lot of women read The Princess Diaries back in the day, so they’re fond of her now. I never really got into her.

  2. My sister loves Meg Cabot, but I’ve never gotten into her. I like The Literary Omnivore’s point about nostalgia, that makes sense to me 🙂

  3. Children of the New Forest looks dreadful. Is there an easy way to look up books by the year they were originally published? That might be a dumb question, but I’ve never tried before. I’m curious what your options are for 1840 to 1849.

    • Well, maybe there’s an easier way, but on wikipedia, you can find books that were published in a particular year, so I searched for each year from 1840 through 1849. Of course it is by no means exhaustive, but it points out some of the major books. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte was a candidate for a new choice, but Emerson won out because I loved reading him in high school and haven’t read anything other than random quotes since.

  4. Lit Omnivore and Kim – perhaps Meg Cabot is an author who has come to my attention too late then. Oh well. It happens!

  5. Eva

    >>Unfortunately, Children of the New Forest managed to be boring even though the children’s family home is burned down and they must go in hiding from Cromwell’s soldiers.


    That is all. 😉

  6. dull and sexist sounds like a losing combination to me!

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