When you read enough book jacket copy—that’s the stuff on the back of the book or inside the jacket flap, telling you what to expect within—you start to notice strange patterns. Books from one of the big four publishing houses will have a line or two promising that the latest in literary fiction is a sober look at our current dilemma/modern age/social media addiction/technological approach to dating. If the copywriter is feeling bold, maybe they’ll let us know that the writer is a “dazzling new voice,” or that the release of this debut novel is “heralding a brave new voice in fiction.” From there, a frustratingly vague description of the plot usually contains a foreboding line letting us know the protagonist needs to go on a journey to another country to find herself, or that a man will try to save his marriage or family. End with a reminder that this book is very important and/or brilliant. Just like every other book.
Book jacket copy is so bad, that I’ve come home from the store with a greatly anticipated new book that it turns out I’ve already read. Or, I waste time at the store trying to figure out whether–if I haven’t read the book–is it something I want to read. It’s hard to know when the jacket copy makes most books sound like the same book.
This is what happens when droids are allowed to write the jacket copy.