Failed Potential

Two years ago I wrote a post about books that had great premises but didn’t deliver. I feel it is time for another edition of books that failed to live up to their true potential.

Based on descriptions of these books on the inside of their front covers, I had expectations of what I wanted them to be. They could be so much more if they had only delivered on their promises.

The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald.

The Irresistible Henry House

I love, love, love the idea of this book. Background: In real life, from 1920-1970 in the US, many colleges had Practice Houses, where Home Ec students were able to practice their homemaking skills. One component I hadn’t known about was that they also practiced their baby rearing skills. These practice homes would take in babies from orphanages, and the students would take care of them under the watchful eye of a house mother.

As I read it, I kept thinking about the science films I watched in high school about the psychology experiments where baby monkeys were denied affection. These experiments were even mentioned in the book, but as an aside, and the author went nowhere with it. If she had developed the idea, it would have been more the book I was looking for.

Made to Kill by Adam Christopher

Made to Kill

I really wanted to like this book. A noir, retro 1950’s-esque sci-fi Hollywood-themed detective story with a robot as the main character. How awesome an idea! For me at least, it didn’t work very well.

The book’s plot only works because of the premise that Raymond Electromatic’s robotic memory is deleted every 24 hours. Yet he still retains some memory and hints of things. That was one reason why I kept putting down the book. Commit to the idea already!

Considering the mish-mash of styles, it shouldn’t have been surprising that the plot got a bit convoluted. I guess I was hoping for a plan as good as the premise, which I didn’t find.

I’ll definitely read the author again (he was new to me). Hopefully other works will come together more smoothly.

What books have you read that didn’t live up to their potential? Or What do you think of the whole idea of a Home Ec Practice House having a real live baby being raised in it?

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