“Little Women” — Laurie And Jo Don’t Get Married And Have A Million Babies?!?!? One of the greatest, sweetest, loveliest love stories of all time is between bookish Jo March and the shy boy next door, Laurie. But, ancient spoiler alert, Jo rejects Laurie (multiple times) and ends up with The Impossible To Like Because He’s Not Laurie Professor and Laurie ends up with Amy. AMY? WHO IS THE WORST. So you can keep your burned jellies and dead Beths, this is the true tragedy of “Little Women” for me. This story is 145 years old and I’m still irate about it.
“Bridge To Terabithia” — Was That Sh*t With Leslie Really Necessary? I mean it’s one thing for an adorable pet to kick the bucket, but what life lesson are we gleaning here? Don’t make friends? Stay sad and and lonely. Don’t, for the love of pete, indulge your imagination. Sure you could make the case that Katherine Paterson, in the last few chapters, writes something rather brilliant and touching on how to survive the loss of a loved one. But I, for one, was too busy bawling my tiny eyes out. So no. F*ck you for this one, Katherine. It still burns.
“Pride & Prejudice” — Lydia Gets Away With It?!?!?! Lydia Bennett, after just being generally the worst for 3/4 of the book runs off with her sister’s boyfriend and just generally causes a heap of trouble for everyone by continuing to be an idiot and the worst. And she gets away with it. He reluctantly puts a ring on it, they get set up financially and yeah, her marriage is going to be a nightmare, but if she’s half as oblivious as her mother she won’t really notice or care. Yeah the better sisters get the better ending (a love match AND Pemberly? OoooOOoo), but that fact that Lydia gets anything to lord over anyone is…repugnant.
“Tess of the d’Urbervilles” — Oh, Really, This Is How We Want To Treat A Rape Victim? You can argue the technicalities of this “rape,” if you want to be a super douchebag about it. I wouldn’t advise it. Suffice it to say that Tess is “taken of advantage of” and left pregnant and desititute. She pulls herself up by her bootstraps and finds a nice fellow and things might maybe turn around for her. But they don’t. Of course they don’t. And you could substitute a whole host of other “Fallen Women” from literature who get my sympathy (Emma Bovary, Anna Karenina, fine Lydia Bennett I suppose), but none are quite so innocent in their fall as Tess. And Tess’s death is bad enough, but Angel’s judgment is that much worse.
“Romeo And Juliet” — What In The Sh*t Were The Grown-Ups Thinking? Yes, yes, it’s a beautiful story about the tragic machinations of fate and stupid, impulsive actions of teenagers. But what, what, what were the Nurse and the Friar doing? It’s one thing to enable the young lovers, it’s another to, oh I dunno, suggest a solution that hinges on poison. Idiots.
“Catcher In The Rye” — Why Does Holden Caulfield? That’s it. Just why, with this kid. Why?