So I have to admit I enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed reading it 10 years ago on holiday to Thailand and I enjoyed reading it now. So why am I cringing as I type?
The Da Vinci Code is fun to read. It’s an adventure puzzle book for grown-ups. It has you, the reader, cracking the codes just minutes before the main characters work them out. At first, it made me feel super smart, but when I actually thought about it… that’s when my opinion of this book shifted.
I felt cheated.
It’s similar to when someone let’s you win at Monopoly, but you don’t realise they let you win until you’ve completed your victory lap of the loungeroom. Then you see the smirk on your opponent’s face and you realise the whole thing was totally orchestrated by them.
That’s what Dan Brown has done here. He’s created an amazing adventure that – admirably – uses real historical locations and artefacts through incredibly researched detail… but… it’s scripted. It’s clichéd. It’s cheesy. It’s full of male characters who are stereotyped to within an inch of their lives. The police are incompetent. The rich are greedy. The symbologist is slow at recognising symbols and the crypotologist is actually not very good at breaking codes.
And that’s the clincher. The two main characters are meant to be experts in code-breaking, yet I – humble reader – worked out before them that when you mix up the letters of O, Draconian devil! you actually get ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’… or did the title of the book give me a head start?
(And don’t get me started on the movie. 20 mins in, I couldn’t handle it any more and switched it to The Bachelor instead. That’s how bad it was.)
In July 2014 I set myself the challenge to finish 100 must-read books before I die. For my ongoing tally click here.Follow @jessieansons