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Terrible Reviews of Great Books: The Lord of the Flies

lord of the flies

There is no such thing as a universally loved book. Each month, we’ll feature a book from Time’s list of the best 100 English language novels of all time. From the nasty to the snarky to the downright absurd, we’ll highlight some of the strange reasons why some people hate these great reads. This month we’ll be taking a look at reviews for The Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

I read Lord of the Flies when I was in 8th or 9th grade. Other than the general plot, vague memories of Piggy, and one of the iconic scenes from the book, I remember very little about it. I don’t even remember whether I liked it or not. I certainly don’t remember it being one of my favorite books nor do I remember it standing out as a book I strongly disliked (e.g., The Old Man and the Sea). According to GoodReads, I gave it 3 stars.

Lord of the Flies was published in 1954 by Nobel-Prize winning English author William Golding. In the 1990s it was been one of the most widely challenged books on school curriculums. Not only is it on Time’s 100 best English-language novels list but it was also placed on the Modern Library 100 Best Novels list, the BBC’s The Big Read list and Boxell’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before you Die List.

The book has 2,667 customer reviews on Amazon. The average rating was 4.0 stars. Unlike some of our other books, this one had a higher percentage of 1 star reviews at 8%.  Let’s take a look at a sampling of one star reviews (my comments in blue):

NOTE: I did not edit for grammar or spelling. All reviews were copied exactly as posted on Amazon. You can read all 1-star reviews here.

  • I am obsessed with Survivor, so I thought it would be fun. WRONG!!! It is incredibly boring and disgusting. Maybe Golding should have thrown in a few challenges and voting?
  • The book overall was so unrealistic not to mention confusing. The end made no sense and the symbolism was just over the top. Everything had to have some deep meaning to it and other random concepts were pulled into it. Why would anyone compare a child to Hitler?
  • Don’t read this book. In fact, if I had a time machine, I would first go and tame a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The, while riding my T-Rex, I would go and punch Mr. Golding in the face. Seems like a lot of effort
  • Why is this constantly appearing on the required reading list of Junior High children? Why is every required reading for children dark, depressing and tragic. Would it be so awful to have them read something that encourages or gives them hope rather than dread? The true savages here are the author and the teacher who made this required reading. On a related note, children should not be exposed to Junior High.
  •  If you see this book on the shelves, cover your innocent eyes from this evil, and run! DO NOT LOOK BACK! If this book was a horse, I would shoot it! It is very annoying to read and this book scares little children!
  • One star is too much for this piece of dung. Symbolism is nice and quite beautiful in some places and for certain writers, but this book had WAY too much of it. I hate it when there is too much of what I consider nice and beautiful in a book.
  • It’s pretty violent, but not in a cool kind of video-gamey kind of way. Sigh
  • Some people say it had adeeper meaning, a meaning that could change the readers life. To those people I say, “Get a Life!” There was no meaning or point to it at all! The book was about naked kids running around killing each other for no reason. Clearly, this reviewer is a master of literary analysis.
  • I’m sorry, but I really hated this book! It was so simpleton and complicated at the same time.
  • At the beginning of this book, I asked myself,”How did all these kids survive but not one adult did?” I think the book would have been a whole lot better if they had about 2 or 3 adults to keep the kids from talking about that ridiculous beast. Hmm, he/she really missed the point of this simpleton and complicated book.
  • The viewpoint of mankind presented is so degraded and ugly that it should be. There is NO REASON to expose our young people to such negativity. No wonder they have so many psychological problems! As a psychologist, I often trace back the root of people’s psychological problems to having been exposed to certain books.

We want to hear from you? Did you read this book? What did you think?

Coming up next month: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Want to read more? You can check out our past Terrible Reviews of Great Books:
The Great Gatsby
The Catcher in the Rye
The Lord of the Rings
To Kill a Mockingbird

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tracy S #

    I get the feeling kids don’t like to be assigned books…if their Amazon reviews are this creative, I wonder what their book reports are like! (I wonder what kind of hat is apropos when riding a dinosaur)

    Liked by 1 person

    July 26, 2016
  2. your comments are hilarious

    Liked by 1 person

    July 26, 2016
    • I’m glad you think so. I was feeling uninspired his month


      July 26, 2016
      • Deadpan weariness is the only valid response to those reviews. Don’t run the risk of being so simpleton and complicated at the same time, Jen!

        Liked by 1 person

        July 26, 2016
    • Anita #

      Ditto! I am cracking up over hete

      Liked by 1 person

      July 26, 2016
  3. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to review books. Although reading 1 star reviews on Amazon of a book you love can be very entertaining, as you’ve highlighted here!
    Great stuff!!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 26, 2016
    • It is very entertaining to read through them. I suspect a majority of one star reviews for this particular book were teens who were forced to read the book for school.


      July 26, 2016
  4. Tessa (Book Concierge) #

    Well, darn … I aspire to being “simpleton and complicated” at the same time. Another dream dashed.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 27, 2016
  5. mootastic1 #

    I also read this book in the 9th grade. I distinctly recall being the only person in the class who did not like it at all. I wonder how my 14 year old self would have reviewed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 27, 2016
  6. Loving your “Terrible Review” series!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 27, 2016

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