Top critical review
on 26 July 2014
** spoiler alert ** This is the third book - out of 581 that I've read since joining Goodreads - that I've rated 1-star. I hate rating things 1-star. I don't even like rating them 2-star. Gah.
It started out okay - a little flat, but okay. Frank seemed decent enough, although the first quarter or so was an info dump with little action or conversation, so I didn't feel like I really got to see the man's good points.
But then we met Sofia. And I hated Sofia.
This is why:
1) She gets pregnant because she forgets to take her contraceptive pills with her on vacation, and rather than a) finding a doctor who'll prescribe more; b) getting the morning-after pill; or c) admitting to Frank she forgot them and letting them both decide to either use condoms or forgo the sex for the weekend, she decided to just hope for the best and not tell him - so she didn't worry him.
2) She decides unilaterally that Frank's work means more to him than she could and that he shouldn't be allowed to take time away from his career for such unimportant things as love and family. (His career btw is running a travel business, which is a fine job but he's hardly a superhero, destined to sacrifice all else for this noble calling.)
3) She leaves him (with a note, not even in person) and coldheartedly calls up the guy who loved her throughout high school - a guy who happens to be Frank's cousin - and gets him to marry her and pretend to everyone that the baby is his. She knows that he loves her, and that she doesn't love him, but she asks him to help her anyway. She doesn't tell Frank that he has a son. For eight years.
4) She ends up divorcing the cousin, and during the book we get to hear her whingy thoughts about how she'd been careful to never make him feel like she was comparing him to Frank. Which is horses***. People know when they're being compared to their partner's ex, especially when they're the one who doesn't measure up.
5) When Frank finally finds out and is initially angry, after he comes to talk it out with her, her first reaction is to want to tell him he missed his chance. Because, of course, he had the audacity to be mad.
I pretty much hated the way the other characters reacted to this, too. Frank's mother - who knew all along that the kid was Frank's, and who never bothered to call him once in eight years and say, Oh, by the way, you have a son - Frank's mother is angry with FRANK for reacting badly. She tells him he's being selfish. Why Frank, how dare you a) not stick around for the girl who dumped you for your cousin and the child you didn't know you had, and b) be angry that she lied to you and kept your son from you for eight years? How selfish you are!
And Frank, the poor sap, doesn't even ask for an apology from Sofia, he just goes right back to loving her. Not that she offers one. She shows no hint of guilt or remorse for her behaviour.
"Love means never having to say you're sorry." (Love Story, 1970)
If you love that quote, this may well be the book for you.
Me, I'll pass.