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Stiff Legs and Tight Stomachs

Oh dear... in this week's episode, we talk about After by Anna Todd. Please enjoy our range of emotions as you read this post. There were more, so many more, but these were the best: ennui, disgust, resignation, amusement and rage.

Let me start out by saying, look... talking badly about books in a public forum is not something that I usually love to do (although this is our second Bad Book Birthday selection...) because I follow the Five Laws of Library Science, especially two of them: every book its reader and every reader their book. I know, I KNOW that I'm not going to love every book ever written, no one is, but yikes at this one. It has some poor reviews (which is why it was chosen for Bad Book Birthday) and some great reviews (see, every book its reader!) but it was NOT FOR US.

The book is SO PROBLEMATIC. The main character, Tessa, is a quiet, reserved girl starting her freshman year of college. Her roommate is tattooed and pierced (which Tessa, her mother and her high school boyfriend find disgusting and repeatedly mention it throughout the text) and so are all her friends. Including one, Hardin, who is immediately hateful to Tessa. But he's the bad boy, so she has to fall for him, right? Ugh. There's gaslighting and emotional abuse and glorification of that abuse and all sorts of other treasures. I don't want to get too far into it, but know that it's not a happy relationship. They fight in almost every single chapter of almost 100 chapters.

Hardin, the bad boy love interest, is loosely based on Harry Styles, making this a One Direction fanfic. That's TERRIBLE representation of Harry Styles, who is, from what I know (which is not much) not an awful human being. He constantly berates and, spoiler alert, She's-All-Thats Tessa, meaning he makes a bet with his friends that he can take her virginity, but he falls in love with her at the same time. They end up moving in together after knowing each other for two months, but that's before the She's-All-That reveal.

I don't want to say much more about this book because it's poorly written (the title of this post is actual things that happen to Tessa when she's experiencing extreme pleasure) and problematic and I don't want to spend any more time on it, but I will say kudos to the author for being able to write something on Wattpad that has tons of reads, so many that it became an actual published book and then an actual published series and then actual freaking movies. Way to go, Anna Todd.

As a last note, this is MY Bad Book Birthday book. For Claire's birthday, remember, we discussed Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend, which was so bad it was funny. This one is... not quite the same... but we are watching the movie on Friday, November 6th on Teleparty if you want to join. Send us an email, message us here on the website, on social media, however, and you can watch with us to celebrate my birthday.

Happy birthday to me!


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