on September 1, 2011
I quite like a bit of lightweight, trashy fiction. My first experience with a 99c purchase was pretty positive. Sadly, in this case, while I'm entirely willing to overlook the fact that the plot (well, the first half of it) seems beyond ludicrous, I just cannot torture myself with this nonsense for one more chapter.
The writing is simply atrocious.
It's so bad, in fact, that I am genuinely surprised that any person literate enough to read novels recreationally could enjoy this. I'm not after 'litch-ritch-ah', but this seems more like the rough sketch of a novel than the completed copy.
The dominant style involves littering very long sentences with either too many commas and em dashes, or too few.
**Long sentences with parenthetic clauses and run-on lists, when used wisely, can bridge the divide between the limited third person narrative and a character's stream-of-consciousness, but when an entire novel is written like this - as much as it pains me, a demonstration seemed necessary - the cumulative effect is claustrophobic, irritating, exhausting, confusing. It's bad enough when a sentence is so poorly constructed that by the time you've made it to the end you've forgotten how it started but when you're pretty sure the author had also gotten a bit confused, because the sentence doesn't actually make sense it's difficult to believe anyone actually proofread it.**
I'm not kidding. The entire thing is written like that. I wish I could believe it was for stylistic reasons, but I'm pretty sure it's a combination of laziness and poor literacy. The following examples might not seem too bad, but imagine hundreds of them:
"If she hadn't met Sam, then she might have met someone else, and they [sic] would still be alive, and if they [sic] were alive, then so would Josh still be alive, only he wouldn't be Josh because Sam wasn't [sic] his father, but she would at least have one of them..."
"Logan's position as a security consultant for a multi-national insurance company definitely paid better than the federal government, she decided as she took in his glass walled [sic] corner office adorned with vanity shots of Logan shaking hands or playing golf with a variety of celebrities."
"Sure enough, exactly five minutes after his secretary ushered her into Logan's inner sanctum, he burst through the door, puffed up with self importance as he rushed to his desk, too harried to spare her a glance."
"She was dressed in cut off [sic] jean shorts, two spaghetti strap [sic] camisoles over lapping [sic], one red and one purple, but somehow they didn't clash - not clinging to Julia's perfect body."
"After phoning when she stopped for gas outside Albany and being told it would be a few hours before the Hopewell Chief of Police could grant her an audience, she had finished her drive through the twisting mountain roads but had still managed to to arrive before Chief Waverly."
"Just enough time to finish his fun here, get cleaned up, grab the engagement ring he'd been waiting for the right time to present, and sweet talk his bride-to-be into eloping to an exotic Caribbean island."
If syntactical aphasia isn't enough to put you off, the tragic similes should be. Why be concise when you can trot out a clichéd comparison. Beer belly = like Santa Clause. Hunched shoulders = like a Neanderthal. Bride on wedding day = like an angel. Snarl = like a beast.
The only ones that display some imagination are the ones that don't make sense. "...like pulling the pin from a grenade, setting off another explosion" What? Isn't the whole point of a grenade that the explosion is delayed, not instantaneous? Or how about the road that "spun out from under the Ford's wheels like dreams colliding beneath the full moon". Huh? Does the author even know what 'colliding' means?
Which brings me to the basic errors. The ones which would have been identified by big red 'x' marks in a high school essay, the difference between a pass and "sorry Mrs Lyons, CJ has to repeat a year." Using 'wretched' instead of 'retched', 'crumbled' instead of 'crumpled', 'Nexis/Lexis' instead of 'LexisNexis', "thru" instead of "through". Random capital letters. Haphazard attention to compound modifiers. This gem: "They'd done as good as she'd hoped".
Do not buy this book. It's only a dollar, but you would get more for your money if you swallowed it in small change, chased the coins with a glass of Metamucil, then spent the rest of your day passing it. Anyway, I'm off to write a book, because apparently anyone can bash out an Amazon best-seller.