Selections from One-Star Amazon Reviews of Flannery O’Connor’s Short Story Collections and Novels

[Editorial note: The following citations come from one-star Amazon reviews of various Flannery O’Connor short story collections and novels. To be clear, I’m a big O’Connor fanI’ve preserved the reviewers’ own styles of punctuation and spelling. More one-star Amazon reviews.].

I wanted to burn it.

I like happy endings.

100 per cent not for me.

I did not finish the book.

This story was agonizing.

I do not like the words used.

To me it was very depressing.

I really, truly hated this book.

The plot was as much a mystery.

They barely even seemed human.

I would not recommend this to anyone.

I had to force myself to finish this book.

I didn’t understand the characters at all.

Not only that, but I really didn’t like them either.

I would never have guessed that the author was female.

I didn’t understand, and I’m fairly certain that I never will.

I think this is the only book I’ve ever felt that I really hated.

One finds it impossible to symapthize or identify with them.

O;Connor is a gifted writer. However this book is dark in tone.

This story just stopped, no solutions to the problems involved.

I think it was a failing of the author to make the character believable.

After reading this book I really need some sunshine and happy voices.

Perhaps most disurbing is the brutal portrayal of violence against children.

Flannery O’Connor is the most depressing writer I have ever had the misfortune to read.

I can’t understand an author who could treat her characters with such callous disregard!

There is little here that resonates with my life’s experiences or my understanding of them.

I would not read this book again without a gun to my head, and I regret ever having picked it up.

While the use of symbolism and metaphor is excellent, the plot to which it pertains is dry and disjointed.

O’Connor certainly possessed superior writing skills. What a pity she used them to share such dark and depressing characters.

This book could take a person on the edge of despondence and push him/her right over the irretrievable edge for good!

It seems like just because writers use symbolism,metaphors and hidden meanings that makes it a work of art or something. Well, a horses rear can be symbolic also.

This book was chosen for my monthly book club and out of 10 women, not a single one of us enjoyed reading it. Most of us were confused by the story because a lot of it didn’t even make sense.

I have witnessed first hand that many literary critics,”experts” bla bla bla, in reality have sticky wet brown stuff for brains.One of those kind that taste 20 year old cheese and just because it cost $300 “Oh that is delicious”.

A group of seniors from our church were planning a visit to the author’s childhood home. I thought it would be a great idea to purchase this book as a little prize for the trip.

True indeed that Flannery Oconnor was an excellent writer – first rate. She was also proof that the best writing can work to depress the human soul rather than uplift it!

This book used the N word too much. Paula Dean lost her livelihood by using it many years ago. It’s not fair that someone else makes money off of it.

Not a good one to found (thus the title!) until the last story, and what do they do to this good man? Why, KILL him, what the ?

The characters were all pretty nasty people and the book definitely is not one to read if you want to be put in a good mood.

An endless parade of moronic, seemingly sub-human characters. Four hours of torture, then I tossed it.

What a sad and lonely life this writer must have lived. Totally depressing literature, yet very well written.

There was nothing likeable about the characters or the story line or the manner in which it was written.

I found the unrelenting negativity far more offensive than her characters’ use of the “n” word.

This weird novel, like a good deal of O’Connor’s stuff, seems cheerless and incredible.

Ms. O’Connor depicts a pair of Southern troglodytes in the grip of religious mania.

There was no real flow to the story and it was a struggle just to make it to the end.

It’s like some idiot sat down and thought Hmmm How can I write a book?

The most depressing and violent stories of men I’ve ever read.

Every story in this book was dark and sad – utterly miserable.

Do yourself a favor and stay FAR away from this book.

The characters appear grotesque and unrealistic.

I found the ending profoundly disturbing.

Started no where and ended no where.

She may or may not have been racist.

You had to read too much into it.

I couldn’t get through this book.

The last few pages were horrid.

Thsi compilation is offensive.

Only read about half of it.

Not at all what I expected.

No more Flannery for me.

I thought it was apalling.

And the ending!

12 thoughts on “Selections from One-Star Amazon Reviews of Flannery O’Connor’s Short Story Collections and Novels”

  1. Some of these are hilarious, some of these are, I speculate, more depressing than the work they criticize (though I can’t say for sure because I’ve never read O’Connor, she’s on my list but I’ve not gotten there yet). But I have a massive, massive beef with people who review things that they haven’t finished. I also have a problem with people who can’t differentiate the quality of a work from how it made them feel. I’m a little more lenient when it’s fiction, but, and this is a little off topic, it’s like when you see a 1 star review on Amazon or Netflix for a documentary about an unpleasant subject (“This movie was really well shot and directed, but how could those Rwandans do that to each other??? ONE STAR!”). In this case, a dark or sad story might be really well told and well crafted. If it made you feel depressed, that probably means the author did a GOOD job, assuming she intended to rouse those specific emotions. People are certainly entitled to their opinions, but, likewise, I’m entitled to dismiss those opinions when they don’t address the merit of the work. Anyway, thanks for the chuckles!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very unique idea with a cool presentation. Ashamed to admit I’ve never actually read Flannery O’Connor’s writing. I’m familiar with her primarily through her more famous quotes, my favorite being her witty quote on the topic of universities stifling writers. Any recommendations from anyone on which of her works would be best to read first?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think her short stories are the best starting place, although my favorite stuff by her is in MYSTERY AND MANNERS (essays) and THE HABIT OF BEING (letters). THE COMPLETE STORIES is widely available, and full of great stuff.

      Some full text links to her stuff:

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d put Ms. O’Connor on my short list of greatest American writers. The boundless idiocy and refreshingly candid lack of imagination collectively demonstrated by the amateur critics above is more than enough to restore one’s faith in closed- , simple-, and feeble-mindedness of the common American reader. Many of them would undoubtedly serve as excellent templates for characters in Ms. O’Connor’s more delicious works.


  4. This comment

    “I would not read this book again without a gun to my head, and I regret ever having picked it up.”

    reminded me of this passage from “A Good Man is Hard to Find”

    ” ‘She would of been a good woman,’ The Misfit said, ‘if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.’ “

    Liked by 1 person

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