Rated Reads

On Beauty

by Zadie Smith

Rated: DIRT

Zadie Smith impressed me a great deal with White Teeth and Autograph Man. I loved her metaphors — clever and evocative. The stories were interesting and a revealing look at the colorful life of immigrants in Great Britain. So when she wrote On Beauty, I naturally felt I’d have to read it eventually. I found a copy in the discount pile at Borders and was excited to get reading.

I was disappointed. The cool metaphors were gone, and just a chapter in, the strong language was way too frequent. I flipped through the book some more to see if it continued, and … well, it did. I glanced at pages and saw plenty of uses of strong language, and some ickily detailed, vulgar sex scenes. Yikes! I put it down, and now it will find its way out of my house and into other hands. Zadie, not pretty.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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