Today Plinky asks me to detail a book that disappointed. I am aware that this will probably meet with some disapproval from certain booky types, but I can’t help it. For me, Stardust by Neil Gaiman just didn’t deliver.
It would be unfair to say I disliked this book, just a little let down. It is quite a while since I read this pretty ‘fairytale’ and I suspect it may improve upon re-reading, but I am not sure I will ever get there.
Before I continue, I would like to point out that I have not seen the film, nor am I likely to as that would defeat the object of the book. It is not a book designed for children and that is one of the things I really liked about it – a child-like tale written for adults only! Not enough authors latch onto this perfect corner of the market (if only I could be inspired in that direction).
And, I really enjoyed the story – right up until the end. I thought Gaiman painted a sumptuous landscape with rich and intriguing characters. I thought the tale was simple yet beautiful and it really swept me up, for the most part. But my lasting memory shall always be the anticlimax at the end.
So much time and patience and love was poured into the main story but I felt as if Gaiman had just got bored by the end. It felt rushed and impatient and empty, which just did not correspond with the rest of the story. Gaiman had entranced me almost like a magical sprite himself, with his lyrical prose throughout and then suddenly it stopped. It was almost as if a child had ended the tale with something akin to, ‘and they all went home for tea’ or ‘then they woke up and it was all a dream’.
I have spent hours upon hours trying to beat this habit out of child writers (not actually beating them obviously, that would be wrong) when here comes a popular author who gives me the same spine tingling cringe. Books like this I almost find more distressing than books I never like from the start – at least with those the tone is already set. With Stardust it was as if someone had given me the keys to the sweetshop then changed the lock at the last minute.
However, it will not deter me from trying more Gaiman in the future. I know plenty of people who adore this book and I know he is a talented writer. But if he is to disappoint like this again, I may be sending him my Literacy lessons!