6 Books That Catfished Me

Throughout the month of November, I was off work for health reasons. In that time I jumped between many YouTube spirals to distract myself, and one of those spirals led me to my new favourite thing: the MTV show Catfish. 

If you’re unaware– which, I feel like everyone knows what Catfish is by this point, but oh well– Catfish follows hosts Nev and Max as they help track down the people their guests meet online to reveal if they really are who they say they are, of if they’ve been lying. When they’re caught out in the lie, the perpetrator is known as a ‘catfish’.

I can’t fully explain my love for this show, just that it makes me feel a helluva lot better that my ‘pen pal’ turned out to actually be who she said she was after we were friends online for so many years. It’s horrifying, watching people justify tricking and manipulating people, and, in spite of some of its flaws, I genuinely enjoy the show for the care Nev and Max put in to helping these people.

For this blog post, I’m going to be talking about six books that Catfished me– aka, was sold as one thing, and I either experienced something completely negative instead, or found something was slightly different, but still satisfied me.


history of the rain

1

History of the Rain

by Niall Williams

This is a rare, positive Catfish. History of the Rain turned out to be more than just a straightforward story of a family history, instead becoming layered with tragedy and the circular nature of grief and the struggles of the grieving process when you, yourself, are also at risk of losing your life. The writing style was also unexpected, a lot of run-on sentences and fishing metaphors. The main character is blunt after so much difficulty in her life, but she’s very complicated and hides a lot, meaning you have to look a lot further beneath the surface to understand her narration. I loved this book.


14

2

Meddling Kids

by Edgar Cantero

Imagine pitching a book as an adult take on Scooby Doo and the ‘bratty kids uncovering criminals’ genre and making it shit. That’s this book! I was catfished by a pretty cover and a dope concept.

My issues with this are very much rooted in issues with sensitivity. Shit portrayals of mental illness, especially, that is prevalent in the genre. However, if Edgar Cantero had a better editor, this book may have been tolerable. Too bad he can’t write dialogue that isn’t stilted and uncomfortable to witness between characters who are surface level caricatures of their Scooby Doo counterparts.

If you want to see this concept done way better, Mira Grant’s novella In the Shadow of Spindrift House is leagues above.


10

3

Lazaretto

by Clay McLeod Chapman

The ratings for this made me believe I would probably dislike this, but I was BAMBOOZLED. CATFISHED. I loved it! Lazaretto is the catfish who seems awfully suspicious beforehand, but turns out to actually be alright.

It has gross, graphic body horror; kind of awful characters; and absolutely 0 hope, so, obviously, I loved it. The biggest catfish was me thinking I hate body horror and then discovering I actually love it in the things I read.


8

4

Trouble

by Non Pratt

I love Non Pratt’s Giant Days, but I hated Trouble. 

Trouble is sold as a novel about a young girl’s teen pregnancy and the boy who supports her by pretending to be the baby’s father. While I got that, there’s also a whole load of baggage alongside that, including, but not limited to:

  • girl hate/slut shaming
  • a troubling handling of incest and grooming
  • gay jokes
  • that issue of old UKYA having chatspeak in the middle of paragraphs for no reason at all

I was catfished, y’all. Sperm on the cover does not make a good book.


StrainDelToroHoganCover

5

The Strain

by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Strain promised a strong virus outbreak novel with compelling characters.

What I got was an overuse of cliches that draws on every other outbreak/apocalyptic fiction cliche with no originality and terribly written characters. In the final 5 chapters of this novel, a whole new male character is introduced so Nora, the only well developed female character, has to stay behind and care for the child, because of course, a woman is only good if she’s caring for children while the big strong men go out and save the day (and do a piss poor job of it). TERRIBLE book. Catfished me completely, I was fooled by GDT’s name being on it.


713BSGSAToL

6

Angels in America

by Tony Kushner

This is actually the GOOD catfish. I’m the person who applies believing their catfish is who they say they are, just wants to be sure, and I turn out to be right! I went into this book thinking it would be great, and it went even better than I thought it would.

If you haven’t heard of it, Angels in America is a two part play that follows a group of characters during Reagan era America as they try to make sense of the world. Prior is my absolute favourite, and I think looking at this in a University seminar helped me get the most I possible could out of it.


Have you ever been Catfished by a book? Don’t worry, I think we’ve all made that mistake. I’ve learnt to ignore covers by this point in my life, but sometimes the synopsis still gets me and fools me.


If you liked this post, consider buying me a coffee? Ko-Fi. 

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