Friday, April 27, 2012

Two Books With Problematic Content

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I've got some negative reviews to post today.  Regardless of how important I think it is for me to be honest, I promise you guys I don't get a rush out of tearing a book to pieces.  It's just that the content of these was such an issue for me that I have nothing nice to say about either book.  Which is why I'm not giving them my typical Writing/Entertainment Value review.  I'm going to just go ahead and bullet point my issues with the content.  Don't take that to mean that the books are well written, because they aren't.  Beautiful Disaster is somewhat better in terms of writing than Thirsty but neither are quality anything.  Let's get started.


Thirsty is a Christian vampire novel by Tracey Bateman that I've seen quite a few good reviews of (click the title to go to the GR page and read those if you're interested).  I actually bought this one (sigh) based on those reviews and on the idea that maybe a Christian fiction author was going to do something creative.  And I wanted to see how an author would weave together Christianity and vampire lore.  Unfortunately, it's a failure on all counts.  The writing is bad, the story is uninteresting, there is nothing new or creative to be seen, and the combination of Christianity and vampires was weak.  Very weak.  

But my real issue with this book happened around page 50.  I don't think I would have enjoyed the book either way, but this ruined any hope of me caring about the main characters or giving the book any kind of decent review.  The author has a main character use the word "retarded" in a derogatory way.  I cannot even begin to tell you guys how completely offensive I find that word.  There was absolutely no reason for the author to choose the word in the context she used it.  I just can't accept that.  Growing up, that word was one of the few that would earn us soap in our mouths.  I'd rather read a book full of cursing than a book that uses that word, or any other word that targets a person's un-chosen identity as an insult (I'm sure you can guess what other words I'm referring to without me having to type them out).  

I have higher standards for authors than to accept that as a casually tossed out substitute for actual writing.  I'm so disappointed to see that from any author, especially one who claims Christianity.  It's insulting to the reader.  Not cool, Tracy Bateman.  There's no reason to have a character use that word in the way it was used in this book.  It's not good writing and it's offensive.  Come up with another way to get your point across.  


Oh dear.  This one should just be titled Cops: Before the Arrest.  There was so very much wrong with this book that I don't know where to begin.  It's another one that I actually paid money for (regrettably) because I heard it was like Anna and the French Kiss but a little darker.  If by "a little darker" you mean full of abuse in the guise of romance, then I guess yeah it was "a little darker".  If the book had a plot, I'd describe it, but we're out of luck on that front.  Here are just a few of the "romantic" tips you can glean from the main characters:
  • Cigarettes smell so yummy to girls - smoke them all the time
  • Binge drinking for college students is SO COOL- girls who can do 15 shots in a single night are HOT
  • Stalking - if your girlfriend breaks up with, the best way to get her back is to go into a rage so violent that even your friends are afraid of you, then stalk her until she gives in and takes you back.
  • Hit people.  Lots of people.  Especially if they do things like look at your girlfriend or, even worse, dare to touch her arm.  They should be left in an unconscious stupor on the floor.  And kissing your girlfriend with their blood still on your face?  That'll really seal the deal.
  • When you're 19 and in love for the first time, getting a tattoo of that person's name on your body is a great way to show you care.  And you're going to be together FOREVER right?  So no worries, most people marry their first teen love.
  • Finally, ladies, when a guy makes you afraid for your life, by all means continue to see him, especially if he just has that "something" about him that mysteriously draws you to him.  When he asks (forces) you to do things you're uncomfortable with or afraid of, go ahead and give in.  If he tells you what to wear, who to talk to, what to say, and how to say it, that's totally normal, not abuse.  

This book was a train wreck.  I couldn't stop reading it, but it just kept getting worse.  It is basically everything a woman should run away from in a relationship, portrayed as sexy and mysterious.  Also, regardless of the fact that the "abuse" is depicted as romance, there's the fact that these are the trashiest, most unsympathetic characters I think I have ever read.  I pictured the girl with about six inches of roots showing in her yellow-dyed hair, wearing club gear to the grocery store.  I pictured the guy wearing a lot of muscle shirts and wife beaters and maybe missing a few teeth.  And despite the fact that it was set in what I think was supposed to be an upscale apartment, I pictured a pay by the week motel or low-rent trailer park.  These are people I'd call the police on if they were my neighbors.  I felt bad for the characters in the book that were supposed to be their friends.  

So there you have it, Reader Friends.  Two books I absolutely cannot recommend and am sad to say I spent money on.  Avoid at all costs.

12 comments:

  1. so, beautiful disaster is twilight in another form? ;)

    and i love you for your honesty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I haven't read Twilight, but from what I've heard this sounds very similar, although it is "not" marketed to YA. I say "not" because the author and the books' fans insist it is for adults, but it features teenagers and is written in a very young style.

      Delete
  2. {new follower here}

    I got a hand it to you for your honesty. The fact you didn't like either made me want to read what you had to say. I usually avoid reviews where people like the books because those usually lead to spoiling whether I will or won't. However, negative reviews mean I need to know what about the book others hated and I can see based on your points why you had no interest in either of these books and I probably would have responded in a similar fashion. Thank you for sharing.

    {http://www.justonemorechapter.net}

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marie! I agree that negative reviews need to have more than an "I didn't like it" to justify the point of view. I'm heading over to your blog now!

      Delete
  3. Good for you! I have a friend blogger who writed only the most delightful reviews. When I ask her offline, she often didn't like the book! I ask you... how is this helpful?

    I actually have people who select books JUST because of my review. If I like it they will read it since we have similar tastes. So I feel compelled to share (without spoilers) if something really bothered me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mari - I hear other bloggers say frequently that bad reviews generate just as much publicity as good reviews. It's true, but not necessarily why I post bad reviews - I just want to be loyal to my readers and post for them, not for an author or publisher.

      Delete
  4. Well, I'm intrigued by Beautiful Disaster! Just kidding! although I am curious about it. But I've been reading a lot of YA to get out of adult books with adult problems, so reading a YA book with adult problems would be awful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wendy - I can't remember if you have Nook or not, but my copy is lendable and hasn't been lent yet. Shoot me an email if you're actually interested, although you're reading at your own risk!

      Delete
  5. LOL at your new title for Beautiful Disaster. The book sounds like just a disaster!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Disaster is right. I still get tense just thinking about it. I even had a nightmare last night that I was trapped in a similar relationship! It was horrifying.

      Delete
  6. Books that romanticize abuse and unhealthy relationships makes me so mad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Furious! Especially since I think many readers will be young women who don't know/haven't had the experiece of an emotionally healthy relationship. It worries me that this is what we're telling teen girls is normal.

      Delete