Friday Faceoff – The chains on my mood swing just snapped – RUN! #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffcoversthatannoyme

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This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and this week we are featuring covers that annoy me. I’ve selected Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller.

Tin House Books, March 2015

This edition was produced by Tin House Books in March 2015. I believe that as well as being attractive to attract readers, a successful book cover should provide an accurate clue as to what sort of story it represents. However this one – and the covers below – lamentably fail in that vital task. The girl in this story simply looks quirky, while the design and very simple, pared-back artwork have a light-hearted feel. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the prose is often beautiful, the story is a dark one and has haunted me since I read it. And the cover doesn’t give any inkling of that – other than a figure made up of dots looming over her, who could merely be her imaginary friend.

Anansi International, March 2015

Published in March 2015 by Anansi International, this beautiful cover is eye-catching and tempting – but there isn’t so much as a hint of what a harrowing read this is. And yes – I’m really angry about it. For once, straplines that regularly are plastered across a cover would be helpful – so where are they? In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be any harm in being plunged into a book that takes us completely out of our comfort zone. But this story encompasses kidnapping, coercion, mental, physical and sexual abuse – and just because it is wrapped up in stunning prose and happens in the heart of a beautiful wilderness doesn’t lessen the impact for an unwary reader who might be triggered.

Czech edition, February 2017

This Czech edition, published in February 2017 by Argo, has also decided to go for a simple design, without giving any of its readers any clue as to the content. There isn’t anything on that cover except the title and author’s name. And, that isn’t sufficient information to safeguard a reader, who thinks they are getting a book about a rustic idyll.

Italian edition, February 2016

This Italian edition, produced by Mondadori in February 2016, is even more misleading. It depicts young Peggy, well wrapped up, playing in the snow. And yes… the book does describes the beauty of the woods in winter in poetical terms. But that doesn’t hide the fact that the child is having to cope with losing everyone she knows and loves, other than her father. And spend large tracts of time foraging just to survive in freezing conditions with an increasingly delusional man.

Penguin, February 2017

This edition, published by Penguin in February 2015, is perhaps the closest cover of my selection to hinting at the darker side of this book. The black backdrop with the white scratched drawing and title is full of impact, as well as literally depicting the tone. But even so, I looked at that ‘little house on the Prairie’ hut and wasn’t fully aware of how disturbing I would find this offering. Luckily, while I found it shocking and it is etched on my memory – it hasn’t caused me any harm. But there are readers who shouldn’t touch this one with a bargepole. And I’m frankly disgusted that there isn’t any warning whatsoever on the cover to prevent them from unknowingly picking this book up. What about you – have you ever picked up a book whose cover suggested one story, only to discover that you’re reading something completely different?

20 responses »

  1. Yes, I have picked up a book based on the cover and was totally off base about the story, sometimes it was better, other times not. I am now going to read this one as you have piqued my interest whether that was your intention or not Sarah. I will keep the Italian cover in mind.

    • Lol… thank you, Carla! I wasn’t particularly out to snag anyone’s interest in the book. It is an interesting, memorable read and I’m keen to see what you make of it:)).

  2. I haven’t read this book but I your description reminds me a bit of Betty, which was harrowing but also beautiful in many ways. I agree, covers for this genre can be tricky, and without knowing what this book is about, it seems like a lighthearted piece of literary fiction. I like the last cover the best.

    • Thank you, Tammy. I am aware that covers for this genre are difficult. And I wouldn’t have minded quite so much if there’d been a strapline that gave some indication. But the one time it could have been useful – there wasn’t one! And yes… the bottom is my favourite, too:).

  3. From your description of this book, no one of these covers give the barest hint about the dark themes of the story – the first one, in particular, could seem the cover for a children fairy tale, which I gather this book is NOT…

    • A creepy woodland scene would do it, I think – especially if there was a suitable strapline as well… There are plenty of examples with the darker sort of murder mysteries.

  4. I’ve gotten fooled by a cover before and it’s so disconcerting! I think especially if I was expecting something lighter or cozier and it ended up being very dark.

  5. The covers are strange and it’s very odd that sometimes the tone of a cover can be so misleading and just incorrect for the content. I have read this one and it is indeed a very dark tale, I liked it, but it’s not for everyone.
    Lynn 😀

    • Thank you for your feedback:). I think I would have been less annoyed if I’d realised just what I was getting into – but those covers were utterly misleading.

  6. Yowza. I honestly thought that first book was a MG fantasy, not what you’re describing. Granted, the cover of ROOM doesn’t give much, but the blurb shares a lot that readers can infer. That last cover is the ONLY one that even hints at anything ominous, and that’s really disturbing considering how readers do NOT want to read about certain types of subject matter.

    • That is my response – and why these covers made me so angry! The book isn’t at all graphic, but is every bit as disturbing and difficult as ROOM in the way it approaches the subject – and the ending isn’t particularly comfortable, either. And these covers don’t give any clue about that…

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