Over the years, public schools seem to have amassed a bunch of “classics” that they literally force every student to read every year, and most of the time the students are left with one simple question: “why?”
In the case of these 10 books, someone on the Throwbacks staff had to suffer through them at some point or another, and they have the horror stories to prove it.
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wylde
While the book is a literary classic, it’s definitely not without its problems. One coworker was especially hateful, saying that “there was one section in the novel that listed off everything that Dorian Gray had collected. It was one of the most tedious and annoying aspects of a book I have ever read.”
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The fact that Gatsby is kind of an annoying, rich prick is the point of the book. It still doesn’t make me want to follow his exploits any more. It feels like the literary equivalent of watching the Kardashians.
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
Let’s get real for a second here folks: this isn’t one of the Bard’s finest plays. It’s a story of two teenagers who want to have sex so badly that they get secretly married and ruin their families. It’s a melodramatic story about two selfish brats, and I have no idea why schools teach this over actually interesting plays like Othello or Hamlet.
Fifth Business – Robertson Davies
I was lucky enough to not have to read this in school, but as one coworker described it, “I just remember something about a hairy baby and someone joining the circus. That was enough for me.”
The books just get worse from here…
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
One of Huxley’s critics at the time said that the book read like he was writing an essay about the future and decided to give it a plot, and that’s exactly how I feel about this book. Read 1984 instead if you want good dystopian fiction.
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
This literary classic has come under fire quite a bit for its take on Colonialism, and as one coworker put it, “I didn’t like its portrayal of Africa or the things they said about it at all.”
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
A kid goes to a zoo, then a boat, then some weird island. There’s a tiger along for the whole trip. Nothing happens. The end. There, I just saved you hours of your life better-used on other things.
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
As one of my coworkers said, “I’ve never met anybody who loved this book and wasn’t a pretentious douchebag who thought they were better than everybody else.” I’m inclined to agree.
Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
A story that’s literally focused on the least-interesting character. Why did we need to spend hours pouring over this when we could have read something, I dunno, fun?
Watership Down – Richard Adams
Yeah yeah whatever it’s a classic, but that doesn’t mean I want to read a story about cute woodland creatures torturing and maiming each other. And don’t even get me started on the movie…