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Not so perfect Christmas,
This review is from: The Perfect Christmas (Kindle Edition)Georgie Carter's (aka Ruth Saberton) The Perfect Christmas is a novel that will divide people. Depending how you feel about affairs, and women who justify affairs in the most ridiculous of ways, you'll either love this book or hate this book. Me? I'm somewhere in the middle. I can say with absolute certainty I didn't love it. And I can say with certainty I didn't hate it. At best, I'm indifferent to it. I don't like books about affairs, and when you compound it with a woman who says a wife doesn't deserve her husband because she's (potentially) a workaholic, well, you're going to get short-shrift with me. I get that life isn't black and white, that there are shades of grey, but an affair is as black or white as you're going to get and, frankly, it's wrong. I don't like them, I don't believe in them, and it takes a heck of a lot for me to change my mind whilst reading about them. Specifically with someone who can't just admit that she's having an affair and that it doesn't matter who the married one is, an affair is an affair.
Every single Chick Lit novel with an affair as its theme is either two kinds of affair: a) a man who's kicked to the kurb because he's a rat and b) a woman who's forgiven for doing it "as long as she's having fun". I don't like how women who cheat are fine and dandy, but men are portrayed as awful love rats. Take for example, Robyn Hood, the heroine of The Perfect Christmas. She's having an affair, she's to all intents and purposes fine with it... But her dad cheated on her mother and left them in the lurch and she treats him like crap, questioning him about it at one point in the novel. Like she has the moral highground. It drives me up the wall, who the heck is Robyn to question someone when she's doing the. exact. same. thing? To my mind, it makes her a rather large hypocrite and that is my problem. That's my issue with books that feature affairs, they're so hypocritical. If a woman does it, it's fine; if a man does it, he deserves to be stoned, basically. I'd like another record to be played; I'd like, for once, a female who has an affair to not have an air about her, as if she's not doing something wrong.
Now that I have my thoughts on affairs out of the way, I can tell you why the novel wasn't a total disaster. Fact is, Ruth Saberton writes some snappy novels. And The Perfect Christmas is written as well as her two novels under her proper name and as such, I found it very easy to read. I also thought the wedding aspect to the novel was enjoyable (if ironic) and when Robyn wasn't questioning her singledom (really, you're having an affair and you still whinge about being single?), her babyless state (which gave me whiplash; "I don't want a baby"/"I do want a baby" ad nauseum), or her affair ("Anita doesn't deserve Jonathan because she's a workaholic!"), I liked her. If you erase the whole affair business, I'd think she was a nice person and, despite her constant similies ("My stomach is like a washing machine on spin cycle"), her narration was, at times, nice to read. There were aspects of the novel that was enjoyable and it could have been a really sweet Christmassy read, without the affair.
Overall, I just felt that The Perfect Christmas was mostly like something I'd read before. The affair irritated me (as if you can't already tell), and although Robyn had her moments, she also had her non-moments and her irritating inner monologue moments that made me have to put the book down. The ending was the sweetest part, but it felt cheaped by how quickly it all happened, how quickly it all came together and maybe I'm just cynical in my young age, but I just felt Robyn was too quick to figure out who her perfect man was. Sure, I'd figured it out paaaages ago (and I do mean "pages" not "ages"), but Robyn figured it out all in a single day and after what had happened 10 pages previously, well it was all a bit too unbelievable to be believable. Which is sad, because I felt like her perfect man was the perfect man, it was just far too quick. It had its moments, but it also felt like a big cliche-ridden mess at times. If you do want a good affair novel, then Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, is still the one I'd tell you to read and as much as I love Ruth Saberton, The Perfect Christmas really wasn't all that perfect for me.
PS: As a final rant/speech/word, why do all novels about affairs feature women who ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have to buff themselves every time they see their man? I'm almost sure that most affairs in real life feature women who (gasp!) don't spend days plucking/preening/shaving/shampooing and that do actually dress normally, rather than like Beyonce, for every single meeting...