So, I just finished a book. And I loved it. It was well-written, well-paced and kept me turning pages way into the night. Which is what it was supposed to do. But there’s one small thing that sort of ruined it for me. I knew there was a big twist somewhere in the story. In fact, I knew there was more than one twist. Luckily I didn’t run across any spoiler reviews before I read it, but in the back of my mind I was waiting for the twist. So when the twist came, guess what happened?
I was a little disappointed, and here’s why. When I started reading, all I could think about was “I wonder what the twist is?” And so I started guessing. And you know what? I guessed the twist. So on that particular page, when the author brilliantly slugs you in the face with her shocking reveal, I thought to myself, “Oh, I knew it!” While it was a great twist, the fact that I wasn’t completely surprised was a bit of a downer. I felt cheated that I hadn’t been able to read this story without any outside influences affecting my reading experience. Which made me think.
I myself have written reviews where I’ve blatantly said “Hey, there’s a huge twist in this story!” I don’t tell you what the twist is, but I do tell you there is indeed a twist. Get ready for it. Start thinking about it. What could it be? Where could it be? Sweat bullets while you’re reading because there is a twist coming and boy you are going to be surprised.
In fact, instead of being surprised, you could simply be let down. Maybe the twist doesn’t turn out to be as big as you expected. Maybe you think the twist is stupid. Or maybe in your mind you’ve created a much better twist than the one the author thought of. The point is, you are now second-guessing what the author’s original intention was when writing her story (I’m not being sexist—I’m calling the author “her” because the book I’m talking about was written by a woman.) That niggling idea of a plot twist has now done something else: it has twisted your expectations, and instead of enjoying a book that really has done some amazing things with words and phrasing and original thought, you are thinking to yourself, “That’s the twist??”
So I have a new rule for myself. I will no longer telegraph plot twists in my reviews. Which will be hard to do, because there is nothing more gleefully delicious for a book reviewer than knowing something that other people don’t know. And bragging about it! “There’s a big plot twist, but ha ha, the joke’s on you! I know what it is and you doooonnnn’tttt!!!!”
I guess I’ll have to find other ways to amuse myself when I write book reviews.
Oh, and the book I so recently read that has some twists?
Oops sorry. Now you know. Oh, wait! The whole world knows. I did not just spoil it for you. Seriously, read this book. Just don’t try to guess the twists…
What do you think? Do you like to know going into a book that there’s a twist? Would you rather reviewers didn’t tell you? Do you think knowing there’s a twist is a spoiler in itself? And finally, have you read Gone Girl? (No spoilers please!!!)