Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yeah, not so much...

Ranganathan's Third Law of Library Science is as follows: "To every book its reader". Periodically, I come across a book for which I am most definitely NOT its reader. Last week, I came across one such book. The premise sounded fascinating - a gender-bent modern adaptation of Jane Eyre - and it had good reviews. Plus, the Kindle edition was only like $2. So I bought it. It started out pretty well, but the further I got into the book, the more problems I had with it. Problems of the this-is-hilarious-but-isn't-meant-to-be variety.

The book? "Eyre House" by Cait Greer.

Let's start out with what I liked, so as to make sure that you understand that I didn't set out to hate this book. On the contrary, there were parts of it that I liked a lot:
  • The setting. Transporting Jane Eyre to a creepy old plantation house on an island in South Carolina? Genius. It's the perfect setting for a story that's got its fair share of creepiness.
  • The trip around the colleges. You guys know that I loves me a roadtrip, and having Evan get to know his family along the way was pretty cute.
  • The gender-bend. It had some issues at times, but I think leaving it as is would have been worse in a modern setting - Rochester would just come across as a total creep.
  • That ultimately, the story wasn't paranormal. Let's be honest here - having a mad relative locked in the attic REALLY wouldn't fly in the modern world, let alone having the Jane/Rochester hearing each other's voices from miles away part.
  • The writing style. I think the author nailed the 18 year old male voice pretty well. 
Now to the moderately problematic:
  • Ginny. She's meant to be assertive and charming and sexy, despite all her deep-seated issues. Instead, she comes across as irritating and a little bit rapey. Evan repeatedly asks her to stop touching him, but she continues to run her hands up under his shirt and across his stomach at every opportunity. If the roles were reversed? TOTALLY NOT OKAY. Having her say things like "All I need from you is that pretty face and the body attached to it" didn't help. I get that she's using him, but seriously? Ouch.
  • Blanche Ingram. She's pretty much another Ginny, only we know that she's gross because Evan tells us she's a bleached blonde and she looks "anorexic". And yet, she still manages - according to Evan - to wear a dress that's two sizes too small...
  • Evan's reaction to finding out that he's heir to two substantial fortunes. Where Jane Eyre is thrilled because it means she can share her fortune out to her new-found family and be an independent woman who doesn't have to marry to ensure her financial security, Evan's reaction is basically "I'm rich now, therefore Ginny will want me for more than just my body". 
  • Ginny had a dead twin brother named Jaime. With that spelling, I kept thinking the characters were talking about a girl, which meant that all I could think of was this:

  • The number of people who badmouthed Evan for being an orphan. Including the villain of the piece, who utters the priceless phrase "Hush your fuckin' mouth, orphan boy." I can understand the rich snobby types being all "Ew, he's from the foster system" or informing him that he's from the wrong side of the tracks. But orphan shaming? (Who knew that was even a thing?!) It's a little weird. 
The downright strange:
  • Ginny is described as having "honey-gold eyes". Either she's possessed by the demon Azazel, or she should go see a doctor, because that's not normal. 
Source
  • Evan's (female) cousin repeatedly tells him how hot he is, and that he should be showing off his body.
  • Evan's (middle aged) uncle refers to Ginny as "an auburn haired wildcat". 
  • Ginny and Evan kiss in the sand. IN the sand. 
Source
  • Part time SWAT teams.
  • Overuse of the word "sugar" as a pet name/term of endearment.
  • As far as I can remember, everyone is white. 
  • Evan periodically sees a giant dog wandering around. While some of them can be attributed to Ginny's cousin's dog, others are just random and left unexplained by the end.
YOU HAVE THE GRIM!!! Also, source.

The sex scenes:
  • Ginny somehow manages to get her jeans off while straddling Evan on a motorbike. Homegirl's got skills, yo. Or tear-off jeans.
  • "My lips caressed the back of her jaw". Um. Unless her jaw unhinges like a snake, I'm not sure how you're doing that. 
  • They have sexy times on Evan's motorbike and he revs the engine throughout. It's meant to be hot, but it was mostly just hilarious. 
  • Ginny "shoves" Evan's jeans off without undoing them. This is both impressive, and bizarrely violent.
  • Every sex scene consists of about two minutes of kissing, and then "I...drove into her with a single thrust".
Source
  • "her tongue slid along mine, pushing in time with our heartbeats". As a (former) clarinetist, I found this especially hilarious. And not even remotely swoony.
  • "My hand slid up the skin of her back, pulling her as close as I could." It may just be me, but that wording makes it sound like his hand is UNDER her skin. Which, ew. 
  • Any time they have sex, Ginny screams. It's meant to be hot, but mostly it makes her seem like she's in pain...
Also, the situation wasn't helped when I read a review which said that Evan "has a vintage motorcycle between his legs". Because that may not be how the reviewer meant it, but I started giggling hysterically and couldn't stop...

This is by no means the worst book I've read this year. It's not even remotely close. Hell, it warrants an extra star just for how much it made me laugh, even if it wasn't supposed to. I guess my point is simply that Ranganathan was right way back in 1913, and that I wasn't the ideal reader for this book. Well, that and it's important to have a good editor, even if you're self-publishing... 

K xx

Given the new policies on Goodreads, I've been far more vocal here than I was in my review over there. That doesn't mean I'm bullying the author. Far from it - she's published books and is therefore light years ahead of me, so I give her a million rounds of applause.

6 comments:

  1. I am so, so, so stuck with the mental image of Motorbike Dick. Nothing will change that. Ever.

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    Replies
    1. It will be eternally hilarious. Just like Papa Motorbike Dick.

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  2. The single thrust GIF.... I can't even. That was perfect. All of the applause.

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    Replies
    1. That gif was honestly all I could think of in any of the sex scenes. I couldn't not use it. And thank you *bows*

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  3. I looove that GIF, and I'm giggling inappropriately at work. I guess it's good that the book engaged you enough for you to review it... it does sound accidentally hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think if I hadn't been telling Nikki and Kim all about the inadvertently hilarious bits as soon as they happened, I wouldn't have been engaged enough to review it. Thank God for internet friends??

      Delete

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