The Five Stages of Grief After Reading A Bad Book by a Favorite Author


Even our favorite authors sometimes write a book we don’t love. Heck, they can even write books that we actively dislike. This is a different feeling than reading a bad book by some random author; this is one of our authors, someone whose books we look forward to reading months and years in advance.

And it feels terrible. These are the emotions* you can expect.


1. Denial

“There must be pages missing from my copy.”

“Is this the right book?”

“This must be some sort of weird side project and the real next book is surely coming out really soon.”


2. Anger

“She spent five years writing this? That’s what success does to some people I guess.”

“Where was his editor? Why didn’t someone nip this in the bud?”

“You know, I never really liked her books that much anyway. That first one was okay, but I’ve just been in the afterglow of that one ever since.”

“I can’t believe I was so excited for this. What an idiot I am.”


3. Bargaining

“Well, the beginning was OK. And the female lead was pretty funny.”

“I bet it will get better with age. I’ll read it again in a year or two and see.”

“I must have misunderstood the ending.”

“Maybe not getting it is sorta the point?”


4. Depression

“Now I have to wait another five years for one of her books.”

“I was convinced this was going to be great, and it wasn’t. This sucks.”

“I hate reading. Books are the worst. I wonder if it’s too late to get into karate.”


5. Acceptance

“There are plenty of other great books out there.”

“Hey, she’s only human. She tried something and it didn’t work.”

“He’ll write others. And I still have the old ones. That’s something.”

“At least it was short.”


*Gently adapted from the Kubler-Ross 5 Stages of Grief Model.


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