No, not that Great Expectations (although A Reader's Respite has always thought Dickens chose a rather risky title there, wouldn't you agree?).
We're talking about the great expectations that seem to accompany a book that everyone seems to be reading and giving spectacular reviews. You know the kind we're talking about? It's the book that's in the window display of every bookstore you pass. The book that pops up on every best-seller list you peruse. And it's the book that every lit blogger seems to be raving about. You can't wait to get your hands on it and experience the rapture everyone else is buzzing about.
Then you finally get a copy and each page you turn, you anticipate the greatness of this book.
A hundred pages in and you're thinking, "The great part is just around the corner; just keep reading."
Two hundred pages in and you're thinking, "It must be the ending that is so fant-abulous."
Three hundred pages in and you're starting to get worried.
As you turn the last page, it finally dawns on you: This book was a flop. It wasn't a horrible book, by any means. But it was completely and entirely, well, forgettable.
How can this be?
A Reader's Respite suspects this disconcerting phenomena has much to do with great expectations. We allow ourselves to get excited about a book that everyone else seems to adore and we automatically assume that we will find the same joy and enlightenment from the novel. By the time we actually get around to reading it, we're fully expecting the next Gone With the Wind. And when we don't find that, it makes the disappointment far, far greater than if we had no expectations at all upon reading the book.
So that's how we ended up so disappointed with Beth Hoffman's novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. A cute story where absolutely nothing of consequence happens. A sweet orphan taken in by a gaggle of eccentric and loving distant relatives in the deep South finds the love she craves. And that's about it. A year from now we won't even be able to tell you what the storyline was about.
So you see, A Reader's Respite is actually doing all of you a favor here. By writing this review, we've actually LOWERED your expectations of this novel. So when you do get around to reading it, you'll be far more likely to enjoy it.
FTC Declaration: We borrowed this book from a friend. Is that allowed? Are the FTC henchmen going to show up on our doorstep in the dark of night, confiscate the book and throw A Reader's Respite into some dark, damp dungeon deep in the catacombs of the city? If that's what it takes for some peace and quiet, our bags are packed and we're ready to go.