just so you know, i really tried. anyone who knows me knows my – let’s call it lack of enthusiasm – towards the romance genre. but i went into this with an open mind, thinking, “i didn’t want to read the children’s books when i took the children’s class either, and look at me now!” but so i went in thinking it would make me a better person or a better, more rounded book-knower.
so i tried.
but shit – this is a pretty bad one. and it is more than just a matter of preference/taste for the genre, it is just…turdy.
backtrack – i had a choice of authors to read for this part of the assignment, and i figured i would go with this Nora Roberts one over the other choices, which seemed to be more hearts-and-flowers with, like, swans, on the cover and lavender cover-text. this one was about a hostage negotiator in the south (how many hostage situations are there in savannah?? a lot.), living in some estrogen temple (stately southern gothic mansion with mother, daughter and female “helper”) getting sexually assaulted in her own precinct etc etc… it sounded like it would at least be page-turning.
but, man, there is such a conflict in tone between this high-stakes hostage negotiator who is super-feminist in her priorities and career, but who says some corny-assed shit. voici:
–There were long legs in those jeans, she noted.
–“Oh Duncan, you’re awfully cute, and you’re rich, and you’ve got a very sexy car. I’m just not in a position to start a relationship.”
–If she’d been wearing socks, Phoebe thought as she aimed for her bedroom, they’d have been blown clear across Jones Street during that good-night kiss.
–I thought I forgot how to need somebody to stay… lucky for me I remembered when the somebody can be counted on.
and it’s not just her with the lame-ass talking:
“You were in the FBI? Like Clarice Starling? Like Silence of the Lambs? Or Dana Scully – another hot redhead, by the way. Special Agent McNamara?” he let out a long, exaggerated breath. “You really are hot.”
if you don’t believe any of these quotes, read it yourself.
“Tonight you represent every dateless women in this city, every woman who’s about to sit down to a lonely meal of Weight Watchers pasta primavera she’s just nuked in the microwave. Every woman who’ll get into bed tonight with a book or reruns of Sex and the City as her only companion”. “You,” she said, pointing her finger at Phoebe, “are our shining hope.”
as nora roberts is the shining hope to all the single mothers juggling the demands of career and family, waiting for their knight in shining-Porsche who knows about flowers and is the perfect man, lover, father all in one. and when Phoebe proposes to Duncan (yeah, spoiler alert, i don’t even care) it’s all i could do to keep from gagging. (remember – i really tried)
but it’s such a farce that indulges all the secret fantasies of the women drawn to this kind of escapist fiction:
watching your deadbeat ex-husband blown to bits from a bomb strapped to his chest as he cries and begs you to save him? check
lottery-winning (read: wealthy without having to spend potential sex-hours at that pesky office) dreamy man who loves your daughter and your mother as much as he loves you? check
a man who will stop you mid-lovemaking to give you a brief lecture about gun control, proving to you he cares more for family than your vagina. oh, swoon.
the dialogue is not restricted to the cheesily-romantic, it also nods to the cartoonishly villainous:
“I want you to shove some of this C-4 up your twat, you useless cunt.”
(you can tell he is the bad guy because he used two different female-taboo words in one sentence!)
and i don’t care if you aren’t a 14-year-old boy – there is no way you let this sentence into your final draft, not from your scary villain:
“You read, or I blow him. Going to take a few other people out and bring serious hurt to the others. But what the hell, I’ll blow the big one, too, and that takes it all.”
i really, really tried.