How Can Such Bad Writing Make Such a Good Read?

I’m reading some book I downloaded from a some promotion. Maybe you get what you pay for. The writing is less than bleh, full of every cliche, tired phrase, and cardboard character in the book (!). Yet, I have stuck with it and am nearly three-quarters done (admittedly skimming a lot) and am curious enough to see it through to the end.

The question is: Why?

As much as the writing stinks, the author has planted so many dilemmas and issues into the lives of characters I can identify with, that I want to find out what happens in the end. This trick, I think, escapes a lot of writers who can lay down beautiful writing but who don’t seem to be able to pin their literary beauty on a mystery or dilemma that holds it together. Those books with their perfect language and little drive are the ones we slap closed and end up feeling uggy about because we¬†should¬†like them. But they… are… so… bo-ring.

I’d love to hear if you have a favorite novel that accomplished both: it sucked you in with mystery, and drama, but was full of stuff you remembered, phrases that stuck, language that brimmed with literary succulence.

Hey, maybe Rebecca? Ah, yes, Rebecca.

Let me hear from you.

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