Did I enjoy The Secret History? No. But were the vibes immaculate? Yes.
Name: The Secret History
Author: Donna Tartt
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.
Maybe to say I didn’t enjoy it is a little dramatic; I’ve read worse. But it’s the sort of book you appreciate more after you’ve read it than during.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt is tantalizingly character based. While this is fascinating to analyze when you’ve finished the book, but for me, it didn’t make for a gripping read. When something did happen in the plot, combined with the previous character studies and powerful writing style, it was amazing. I sailed through the last 60 pages, and felt genuinely scared when Bunny died.
But the rest of the book? It was the five getting drunk and passing out, or getting drunk and going for a walk, or getting drunk and arguing. Julian wasn’t this mastermind he was set out to be and the weather had as much page time as Francis.
The biggest disappointment? I have to admit, The Secret History is the epitome of ‘Booktok made me read it’. I’d seen so many raving reviews praising the atmosphere that I went into reading with high expectations. I’d expected a pretentious read – sure, there’d be lot of classical references but enough substance to pull through.
And yes, in some ways, The Secret History was worth the hype. A few passages will stay with me for a very long time, and I’m left with a very strong impression of youth and classical civilization and murder and cold weather. But whilst reading? Boring as anything.
What about you? Have you had a similar experiences where Booktok let you down? Or any other overhyped books that just weren’t as good as you expected? Let me know in the comments!
If you wanna find more of this type of content, check out my Worth the Hype series here! From The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo to Red White and Royal Blue, I’m reading popular books so you don’t have to. To answer the question once and for all… are any of these books really worth the hype?