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Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Review, of Sorts

Dear Author of The-Book-I-Will-Not-Name,

Here is what works: the synopsis. When I cracked the cover to read about a 33-year-old man, estranged from his family for years, who returns home to find his parents dead, his sisters unaware of his existence and a gravestone with his name on it, I was hooked.

Here’s what does not work: Everything else.

A main character had an affair resulting in pregnancy, I get that. Three years later her husband is, uh, well let us say, miffed, to discover that the son he thought was his, is not. I get that too. But, Author, it’s unrealistic to believe that he secretly kidnaps said son, puts him up for adoption on the other side of the country, and most of all, that the adoption is finalized in days.

In case you don't know, and you obviously don't, Author dear, real adoptions take investigation, home studies, witnessed releases from birth parents, waiting periods, approval from social workers and state agencies. Even private adoptions require specific legal documents. I happen to know something about this, and to be blunt Dear Author, This. Just. Does. Not. Fly.

Here are the other things that didn’t work for me:

• What mother would let her three-year-old child “go camping” into the remote desert where her husband claimed to be taking him (in order to fake the child’s death via a snake bite)? I’m a mom. I don’t care if you are my husband. If you told me you were taking my kid out there, the answer would be no way, no how, because, bloody right, there are snakes out there. And lizards. And stinging ants. And a lack of water. Are you kidding me? Author, I suggest you find another premise.

• I'm skeptical that a man could march into a funeral parlor lacking a body, or ashes, or paperwork and buy an urn. I’m sure any funeral director worth his salt would raise his eyebrows at the tale of a box from a previous funeral parlor that wasn’t “good enough” in which to carry a child’s supposed remains home to a grieving wife.

I’m just sayin’...

• It's preeety tough to chew the idea of a wife (after confessing that her boy was a result of an affair) accepting her husband cremated her child's body before returning home. I hate to tell you, but if I were that mom, I’d be over-the-top-overwrought. Even if I trusted the husband, which apparently this fool woman did, I’d demand evidence of my child’s passing. How about the death certificate? Newspaper articles? Medical records? Wouldn't there be police reports involving the accidental death? Loopholes Author. Lots of them. Get on this, would you?

• If a husband returns home with an urn full of ashes, I can't believe that a wife, even if she didn’t suspect a thing, wouldn’t look in at the remains of her beloved child. Once she did, I’m pretty sure that she could tell the difference between burned pieces of wood and tiny shards of bone.

• Yup, Author, that lady did her man wrong. But when her husband confesses his crime to her, you are asking me to believe that she could simply accept that her son has been swallowed into a black hole, and, go on living with the lying, scumbag SOB responsible for that for the rest of her miserable life? Dammit Lady. Call the cops.

So Author dearest, since I checked this book out of the library, other then the time I wasted reading it, your lack of homework didn’t cost me a cent. However, in my quest to represent those-who-may-be-sorry before they fork over actual hardbacks (or perhaps, increase their sign-on-the-dotted-line-debt) to purchase this tale, I’m packing up my loaner copy and sending it back to you. To heck with the late fees. Please ask your publisher to halt further distribution until you complete your research, and then do me a favor and revise, revise, revise.

Sincerely,


Disgruntled Reader

PS. Please note that I received no remuneration for writing this letter.

12 comments:

Jon Paul said...

There are at least three recent books I read where I could post the same rant about loopholes and research and poor craft--and unfortunately, I paid for the books!

They say you must be old when you start saying: "They don't make them like they used to."

I guess that makes me old. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Whoa! I'm surprised you kept reading. We need to find an urn to put that book in.

Sharon said...

And so how did this get published in the first place?

Robin said...

This gives me all kinds of hope about my own work of fiction that I am pounding away at. I was starting to lose hope and working on it less and less. You have reinvigorated me.

Oh, I have another HERE'S TO YOU DAY today with one video that is particularly for moms. I thought of you when I chose it. I hope you stop by....

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh Liza! That was fantastic. There are a few books that I would love to write this sort of letter about! And I agree with you and I have not ever read the book, but it sounded AWFUL!

Hope your reading days are brighter soon :)

Helen Ginger said...

Very funny (and sad at the same time). How did it get published? Didn't an editor look at this?

At least you won't be in trouble with the FTC since you wrote a disclaimer. Now, the library is another thing - and they are strict.

Helen
Straight From Hel

glnroz said...

uhhhhh,,so, you didnt like my book,,? :) sounds pretty unrealistic,,

rae said...

Excellent post!

Robin said...

I JUST HIT YOU UP WITH AN AWARD ~ CONGRATS! STOP BY MY PAGE TO CHECK IT OUT:-)

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh god, this is terrifying, isn't it? I mean that book sounds perfectly awful. And there are plenty of books that I read and don't like. And the idea that someday there will inevitably be people who hate our book? Eek. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

KarenG said...

This is a really good bad review. I would be happy to recieve a review-- either good or bad from you anytime. It's thoughtful, helpful and clear. This isn't my book, but if it were, I would appreciate your honesty and insight on what isn't working. Also, I like that you don't name the book or the author in this particular case. Although I am really really curious :)

Kayla said...

Don't you hate books like that. I hate being intrigued and continue to hope for a good story only to be upset the whole way. I hope your next read is better

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