The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I can’t say I’m excited to talk about this book, but I just really needed to let my thoughts and feels out because I had a lot of feelings towards this book, all of which are negative, unfortunately. If this is a book that is near and dear to your heart, I wouldn’t advise reading this review because I sort of like tear it apart because it is genuinely one of my least favorite books I’ve ever read. But if you have no opinion on this book, feel free to continue reading as we jump right into the review!


Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid….He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. 

This is the Code of the Private Eye as defined by Raymond Chandler in his 1944 essay ‘The Simple Act of Murder.’ Such a man was Philip Marlowe, private eye, an educated, heroic, streetwise, rugged individualist and the hero of Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep. This work established Chandler as the master of the ‘hard-boiled’ detective novel, and his articulate and literary style of writing won him a large audience, which ranged from the man in the street to the most sophisticated intellectual.

Marlowe subsequently appeared in a series of extremely popular novels, among them The Lady in the LakeThe Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely.” ~ Elizabeth Diefendorf, editor, The New York Public Library’s Books of the Century, p. 112.

Selected as one of Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Novels, with the following review: “‘I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be.’ This sentence, from the first paragraph of The Big Sleep, marks the last time you can be fully confident that you know what’s going on.

The first novel by Raymond Chandler at the age of 51.”

My Thoughts:

I really did not like this book. I had so many issues with it, and it honestly was boring me to tears. I fell asleep reading this book a grand total of three times. Never in my life had I fallen asleep reading a book until this one. This gets so much praise in the Detective Fiction community, and I just do not understand why because I just did not like it at all.

One of my least favorite parts of the book was the writing. I could not stand the writing in this book. 85% of this book was nothing but info dumps, and it just really was irritating me. Another thing that I really hated about the writing was how overly descriptive it was. It was so descriptive in the most unnecessary places. There were just so many paragraphs of description for a room, and I just wanted to get to the point. I also really did not like the way Raymond Chandler was trying to use figurative language. He tried to use a lot of similes and metaphors, but the way they are worded is just so awkward to me. He tried to be clever, but really he just failed miserably, in my opinion.

There was not a single character in this entire book that I actually liked. I hated all of them. And I am fairly certain you are supposed to like some of them, but they all seemed very one-dimensional, flat characters that never developed. They were all so irritatingly static, and there wasn’t even one character that I could turn to for a source of comfort. I hated every single one of them, and that also contributed heavily to my low rating of this book.

I also just think our main character is kind of problematic, and he says things that really were bothering me. There is one point in the book where he is trying to wake this girl up, so he slaps her. That is pretty common to wake people up, even if I don’t like the method. What bothered me was he did it like ten times and proceeded to think to himself that she is probably used to being slapped around and–I quote–“I don’t blame them.” That made me so upset and angry because how dare you say that. That isn’t something you think or say, and it just made me so mad.

Because of all of this, I didn’t really care about the plot at all. I honestly didn’t care what happened. I just wanted the torture of this book to be over already so I was rushing the book, trying to just get it over with because I hated it so much. This is definitely one of my least favorite books I’ve read this year thus far, and the only reason I finished this book was that I had to read it for class. But I do not recommend this because I just despised it so much.


And there you have it! That was my review of The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. I’m sorry this more of a rant-review than anything else. Usually I can find something about a book I like to balance out all of my negative thoughts, but in this case, there wasn’t a single thing about the book I genuinely liked. But that is going to be it for this review today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!


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