Top critical review
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Sadly, this book is atrocious.
on 1 February 2014
I will start by saying that I purchased this book for free in a recent sale, and for that I am very grateful. Even so, I feel rather cheated, and definitely misled by all the positive reviews that have been left here for it. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a 5 star book. It's barely even a 1 star book.
I did, however, push through and complete it, mainly because I feel it is the correct thing to do if you intend to leave a review. I wish I hadn't bothered, because while this book is a short read, I still feel as if I have lost time that could have been spent on other things.
The main problems are as follows:
-poor proof reading. I found several instances of omitted words and incorrect spellings- something that I often never notice if a book is interesting and engaging.
-bad characterisation. All the characters are shallow. The only one who felt in any way like a real person was the evil, abusive husband, and even then he was a fairly standard offering with no depth or development. The other characters were inconsistent and unbelievable, especially the police officers, who were so easily won over by an abusive husband despite having prior warning of his manipulative behaviour. I find it interesting that the 'bad guy' insists that the police are dumb while the 'heroine' feels they are not, when the author penning the tale clearly thinks they are halfwits.
-bad plot. I won't say it was predictable, but it was contrived, and felt forced. The last chapter in particular was atrocious, and completely unnecessary.
-bad speech. In fact, it was often cringe-worthy and painful to read.
-bad narrative skills. It was very jarring to have the main character (who is the narrative 'voice' for this story) constantly 'reminding' the reader of things that happened half a paragraph ago, as if we might have mysteriously forgotten about it. The references to real life music and actors was irritating to me, but I am prepared to accept that that might just be my personal taste. The constant rhetorical questions in the narrative, however, just felt patronising and pointless.
-bad sex. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was pointless sex, which was neither erotic nor necessary, written with glee but no skill, and served only to cheapen an already sub-par novel.
One of the worst parts of this book, however, was the utterly inconsistent attitude of the main character, and how intensely unsympathetic she was. She makes a huge song and dance about not being able to enjoy sex or relax/trust a man after the intensely abusive relationship she has been in, and then a few very short pages later she is letting a man she hardly knows fondle her and kiss, in public, AND in the presence of her children. This kind of approach to a character is not only bad writing, but it's also pretty offensive- both to women who have actually been traumatised by abuse, and also to the reader, who is expected to regard this behaviour as believable. The only thing worse than this entirely incomprehensible attitude towards her past abuse, is the leading lady's gleeful acceptance of major crime as a way to take revenge. This was not a clever plan, either, but one that leads to the death of somebody who, while detestable as a person, did not really deserve to die. I find it incomprehensible that the author feels the character could retain any kind of moral high ground, and yet, the tone at the end of the book seems to imply that this is the case. The last chapter only served to make the main character look like a giggling child, and frankly, she would have been arrested for incriminating herself with the way she spoke. The final scene was about as tacky and corny as any other I have ever come across, and again, was completely and utterly unnecessary.
I normally try to end a low-rating review with something positive, but in this case it is hard. The novel made an attempt at a good start, and some of the descriptions of an abusive marriage- while predictable- were compelling. It was just a shame that a moderately passable set-up was ruined by everything that happened after that.