A Category of Books I Like to Call “The Brad Pitts”

You know how Oprah always asks people, “What do you know for sure?” and they always answer with syrupy stuff like “My mom was always right,” and “There is nothing better in this world than a child’s laugh,” and nonsense crap like “I am finally myself.”  Well, this is what I know for sure:

Brad Pitt is an attractive man.

Even when he’s all bearded and dirty, you can still tell there is a really good-looking man under all that mange.

Wouldn’t you, too, acknowledge that Brad Pitt is a very attractive man, even if you are not attracted to him yourself?  If not, please pretend you do, because the entire conceit of this post depends on you agreeing that Brad Pitt is an attractive man.

I am one of those people who can see, objectively, that Brad Pitt is a stunner.  But the thing is, I’m not personally attracted to him.  It can be the same with books; I can objectively tell that a book is really great, has a definite audience, and meets a real need without truly loving the book myself.  Thus, I give you the definition of a Brad Pitt book:

brad pitt book n. a book that one can, no matter his/her personal preferences, recognize as possessing high merit.

When learning any new concept, examples are helpful.  Here are some of my personal Brad Pitts.  Before you go off your chain in the comments section, remember the definition of a BP.  I’m not saying that any of these are bad books or even mediocre books.  Far from it.  These are books that I know are great, and that I enjoyed reading, but just didn’t reach out and grab me by the throat.  If I had reviewed these books I would have given them a great review (just like I gave two thumbs up to seeing Brad Pitt’s tush in Troy).

Perhaps one of the greatest BPs of all time for me has been Harry Potter. I understood why others would eat their own foot to read the books, but I couldn’t get beyond a little nibble of my baby toe.  Again, like any BP, I enjoyed it, but didn’t fall in love.  Same with the Westing Game; got the decades of hype, but didn’t feel it myself.

A more recent example is Smile by Raina Telgemeier.  Fabulous book. I even had similar orthodontic drama involving pulled teeth and braces.  But, for whatever reason, my heart wasn’t in it.

I should also make it clear what a Brad Pitt book is not:

A book that everyone else likes but I really didn’t like

Comparable celebrities here are the likes of Josh Duhamel, Bradley Cooper, and Robert Pattinson.  These are all dudes that many people find scrumptious but I, well, don’t.

Savvy was a big one for me.  Also, Incarceron. Unlike the BPs, I didn’t enjoy these books at all and had trouble seeing what others saw in them.  To each their own kinda thing.

A book that looks pretty on the outside but (I think) is a stinker inside

Don’t forget that Brad Pitt is not only good-looking, but also a stand-up fella (wife swapping aside, he’s charitable).  Therefore, a true BP book has to be good on the inside and outside.

The Carrie Diaries is one hot little number.  The jacket feels kind of leathery and soft and I can’t resist that pink, spray-painty font.  But unlike two of my favourite, very insightful YA reviewers (Tea Cozy and Reading Rants), I dang well hated it.

I’m always interested to hear what other people consider BPs.  It’s also interesting to consider which books are true BPs (i.e. – have merit but didn’t grab you) and which have just been over-hyped (i.e. – BPs in Robert Pattinson’s clothing).

4 thoughts on “A Category of Books I Like to Call “The Brad Pitts””

  1. There are several hugely popular books I have never read partly because I assume they are going to be Brad Pitts. A couple examples:
    The Joy Luck Club
    The Da Vinci Code

    Are they true BPs? I don’t know! How lazy and unfair of me to assume they are.

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  2. Love this post, Shannon, even if HP was definitively not a BP for me!
    There is a series in French called Amos Daragon. I hated the first one and never read the others (I think there are 14 books in the series!). Its merit is that kids loved it, does that make it a BP?

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  3. This is a great concept, Shannon. My most recent BP book? Pam Munoz Ryan’s The Dreamer. It’s elegant and literary and important, but for me it just doesn’t sing.

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  4. Mine is When You Reach Me. I just don’t get it, and I’ll be honest, don’t see why it got such high praise, including the Newbery. Maybe it’s not a Brad Pitt for me then…maybe it’s just a dumb book for me…

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