I wanted to like this book, I really did. The well designed eye catching cover was the first thing I noticed when I stepped in to a bustling brick and mortar book store in Soho—yes they still exist. I knew little about this book, had no idea it had been on the New York Times best seller list and had read no reviews in relation to it. I briefly read a quick profile about it on a well known bloggers site and I thought it would be right up my alley. It wasn’t.
Standing in the store I read the reviews, read the inside flap and the story struck me as a plot twist page turner Gossip Girl meets the Devil Wears Prada with insightful dark under lying themes. This book was anything but that.
The main character works as an editor at magazine but you are only aware of this fact because the character mentions it. She is never in the office and this has nothing to do with working at a magazine. She easily could have worked at a prestiges law firm, financial institution or tech start up. Secondly this book struck me as more of young adult fiction then a book intended for mature adults. But beyond these two misleading aspects, there is so much wrong with this book I am surprised it got published. But it seems today mediocracy and sensationalism are the go to’s when it comes to best selling fiction. This book has been compared to Gone Girl, but really there are no plot twists here and the blatant exploitation of controversial subjects as means to write the next block buster is beyond the pale. There are spoilers ahead so if you plan on reading this book you want to stop reading the rest of this post.
Every time I read a book like this, I think to myself, “I could write a book like this” and maybe I just will, heck I could use the cash
The so called plot twist is that the middle class girl from the wrong side of the tracks who now works as an editor at a glossy magazine and is engaged to wealthy blue blood, experienced sexual assault and date rape as a teenager. And if that is not enough she was also the victim of a mass shooting at her high school. Both of these subjects weigh heavily on the national psyche and neither should be treated as trendy fictional material but that is exactly what the writer does in this book. I am not even sure if this was her intention or it was just a complete lack of insight. Many reviewers on Amazon complained about the main characters snarky attitude and label obsession but this did bother me. I believe this was some what intentional and was done in a tongue and cheek tone. However there far worse elements in this book, and it surprises and saddens me that more people did not pick up on them.
that yes “taking advantage” of a drunk girl is not nice, but it is no where near as bad as being the victim of a school shooter, who of course is gay.
But the school shooter in this story is a gay male— this is a statistical absurdity. There is probably more violent crime committed by women then gay men. But it gets worse, turns out the school shooter does not go on a killing spree because he was bullied but because he was born with psychopathic tendencies and he kills for fun and because he feels he is intellectually superior to those around him. Umm OK. So the writer made the character gay for what reason? And it gets even worse with far more insidious implications.
The writer makes the group of male students who gang raped her the victims of the school shooting— complete with missing limbs, missing shot off faces and painful deaths crying out for their moms. Implying subtly and not so subtly ( the main character more less says this at one point ) that yes “taking advantage” of a drunk girl is not nice, but it is no where near as bad as being the victim of a school shooter, who of course is gay. A gay psychopath who is a highly intelligent liberal…hmmm. And comes from a single home with an absentee father…double hmmm. In the end you have more sympathy for the white male well to do rapists then you do for the bullied gay student.
And the cherry on top? She and her coach have an attraction to each other when she is fourteen, and she even spends time alone with him in his apartment, but “nothing happens” until they reconnect when she is in her twenties. And the point of that relationship? Wow. I guess the writer wanted to cover all her bases and this was her Fifty Shades of Gray moment. Though kudos to her, mission accomplished. This book was on the best seller list and there is talk it may be made in to a movie. Every time I read a book like this, I think to myself, “I could write a book like this” and maybe I just will, heck I could use the cash. Though the cover design gets five stars, good job Christopher Lin. I will keep this book around for the sheer gorgeousness of it.1