Lev Grossman, The Magicians
My wife and I had high hopes for this one—we started it at the same time, me on Kindle, her on hardcover—loved the beginning, liked the writing a lot, but by the end, it just wasn’t for us. (I finished, she got about halfway through.)
Not for me. That’s a phrase I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It wasn’t for me. I like that phrase because it’s essentially positive: underlying it is the assumption that there is a book, or rather, books, for me, but this one just wasn’t one of them. It also allows me to tell you how I felt about the book without me shutting down the possibility that you might like it, or making you feel stupid if you did like it. It just wasn’t for me. No big deal.
And “me” changes, so when you say, “It wasn’t for me,” maybe it’s not for the “me” right now—maybe it’s for future Me, or Me lounging in a beach chair in Jamaica, or Me at fourteen—Me in another universe.
Responding to art is so much about the right place and right time. You have to feel free to skip things, move on, and (maybe) come back later.
And you have to be okay with saying, “It wasn’t for me.”
Filed under: my reading year 2012.
This is a very popular phrase with editors, especially for submissions that you admire, but can’t see devoting a year+ of your life to.
When that submission hits the bestseller list, all you can do is think, well evidently it was “right” for a lot of people.