I really struggle to “DNF”.
What’s “DNF”? It stands for “did-not-finish” and it’s an acronym of alligator proportions. Some people believe avidly in DNFing. Why waste precious minutes on a sucky book? Others would rather eat a porcupine than commit the bookish sin. Because it can totally be argued that if “you didn’t finish it, your opinion is less valid”. Right? RIGHT? Argh. Like I said — alligator proportions.
But you clearly want to know my stance on it, because I’m utterly fabulous and life would be so hollow if you didn’t know my opinions on EVERYTHING.
It’s a very rare moment when I don’t finish a book. And I have reasons! A whole LIST of them, which I shall throw at you presently. You’re lucky like that.
1. I HATE UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
Honest, this is the worst feeling. It’s like eating half your breakfast. It’s like wearing half an outfit. IT’S LIKE STARTING A SENTENCE AND THEN NOT –
You get the idea. It bothers me. I like to know I’ve complete all the books on my shelves.
2. I HOLD ONTO THE FAINT STRAND OF HOPE, NO MATTER HOW MICROSCOPIC, THAT IT’LL GET BETTER.
That’s me, oh so positive.* But honestly! If I stop now…what if the ending saves it?! And I’ve read plenty of books that fit this! The beginning will drive more loopy than a pineapple, but the ending will be decent enough for me to actually cheer. (This was mostly my opinions on Red Queen and The Sin Eater’s Daughter.)
* Erm, not really. I’m a dryly negative humanoid. Bitter as a small coffee bean.
3. I’VE USUALLY BEEN GIVEN THE BOOK FOR FREE FOR REVIEW, SO, UM, I DO FEEL BEHOLDEN TO FINISH IT.
This isn’t an iron rule! If I DNF a review-book, I’m not immediately going to pursued by the publisher’s resident samurais and then fed to their dragon. (Well, actually, maybe this does happen? I don’t hear stories of it going down, but maybe that’s because there were no survivors.) But still! I signed up to be a book reviewer! And books ain’t cheap, folks, particularly ARCs. I feel like I’ve been given a gift and I need to honour my end and review what I’ve been given. Plus I know so many people would love to have the bookish opportunities that I have — and I want to be grateful.
I’m also super scared of samurais feeding me to their dragon, okay?
4. I DON’T FEEL AS ENTITLED TO REVIEW BECAUSE I HAVEN’T READ THE WHOLE THING.
This one is a little silly. I mean, I wouldn’t be reviewing the book as a whole, I’d just review what I’d read! In DNF reviews, I typically list the reasons it didn’t work for me and tell everyone what page I got up to. Fair, right? But there are so often plot twists…and sometimes beginnings are written suckily because the writer is still warming up! THERE ARE SO MANY REASONS I SHOULD CONTINUE. Oh the pain. The aaagony.
5. I MIGHT BE HELD HOSTAGE BY RABID PORCUPINES WHO WILL USE ME AS A DART BOARD IF I DO NOT FINISH.
Well, to be fairly truthful, folks…this hasn’t happened yet. But it is a reason I finish books. It’s a precaution. I don’t want this to happen.
So what WILL make you DNF, Cait?
Because it does happen. It does. You can catch my DNF reviews for The Hunt, Wicked, You and Elsewhere. (Yep, I’ve only DNF’d four books in the past, um, four years.) And usually it’s library books that I decide not to waste precious hours on.
I will DNF if:
- The book accidentally is exactly NOT what I thought it’d be. Like in the case of You, where I thought it was YA and, um, it was a Gone Girl-esque thriller that scared the living daylights out of me. I am a child. Leave me to my crayons and picture books.
- It is so dreadfully STUPID that my brain is melting whilst reading and I must DNF or lose braincells.
- I’m bored. Like, not slightly bored. I must be 100% filled with sheer suffocating boredom, to the extent that I’d rather cut the lawn with embroidery scissors or take the seeds out of a strawberry than pick up the book.
- A dragon eats it before I get a chance to finish it.
Not many books drive me to this, it’s true. So am I a DNF hater? Nope. For a person who doesn’t DNF hardly ever, I highly agree that life is short and there are too many beautiful books out there to waste time on one that’s not working for you. It’s ridiculous. If the act of DNFing doesn’t twinge some unfinished bone in your body, then I see no harm in just tossing it. In the case of Wicked, I’ve DNF’d for now, but I do plan to one day go back. Maybe with an audio to get through the tedious writing.
Oh, and, um…this is slightly deviously evil of me to admit…but there is a large reason I finish books I find excruciatingly thorny. I like to review them. I don’t like to hate, but I like to deeply critique. I find it somewhat calming to list all my quibbles, particularly the WHYS, because I believe, if you’re going to proclaim your dislike for a book, you need to eloquently explain why. Not just gifs. Not just exclamations of frustrations. TELL US WHY.
Basically DNF’ing is a tricky business and I think the “should I do it?” depends on you. Only you. Don’t let anyone shame you into doing one or the other. And maybe try it both ways if you’re not sure. It is awful, I totally concede, to waste time on a bad book. BUT THERE ARE SO MANY “WHAT IF” SCENARIOS. Let no one say being a bookworm isn’t complicated.