Today The Huffington Post released this short list of classic novels which it considers overrated:
- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The Stranger by Albert Camus
- Ulysses by James Joyce
Personally, I have read 3 and 4, and highly disagree with their reasoning. The Catcher in the Rye is an exquisite read at any age, and to oversimplify it as “whiney” is insulting. The Stranger is one of my favorite novels, precisely because it’s difficult “for the reader to feel a connection to the character.” As the epitome of French existentialism, you’re not supposed to understand Mersault, because the point of the novel is that sometimes, life just doesn’t make sense. It’s beautifully written and engaging, not bland and glacial.
Now I haven’t read the others, but I have read Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener,” and 2 is the only one I would probably agree with, since I found his writing rather boring. But after hating Wharton’s Ethan Frome and loving The Age of Innocence, I try to never judge an author’s novel based on other work of his/hers that I’ve read previously. You never know, right?
So do you think HuffPost’s spot-on, or did it totally miss the mark?