Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Read-a-thon: Day 2

I'm back with an update on how awesomely my challenge is going. Luckily my momentum hasn't slowed and at this rate my TBR pile should be dwindling by the end of the week. So as you can remember from last nights update I was up to 608 pages and counting...because I stayed up until about 3:30 in the morning reading when I really should have gone to bed. Such is the life of a night owl.

I continued to read Baby Proof by Emily Giffin and finished the remaining 297 pages, which brought my total page count up to 905 pages!!! I think I should have made my goal higher, but I can't rule out having an off day especially when factoring in that I have seriously been considering watching Downton Abbey. Everybody raves about it and as everyone can tell from my thorough watch-a-thon, I do enjoy a good period drama. I just can't figure out why I haven't added this to my watchlist.

Back to the actual topic at hand, which is Giffin's book. All I can say is burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me. This book was so AWFUL!! After I finished it I considered writing a review for Goodreads and then I said screw it and gave it 1 star knowing fully that I would probably vent here...so here we are.

The premise was soooo good and I had never heard of another author tackling that topic in fiction. Let me give a brief summary of said premise. Female protagonist (whose name I can't remember because she was annoying and like every other character in Giffin's novels (woman whose marriage sucks and warrants an entire books worth of discussion))...it's apparently Claudia now that I've bothered to pick the book up from the corner I chucked it in.

Claudia is a woman who determined early on that she wasn't cut out for motherhood and made sure to tell all her boyfriends that she would never agree to having their baby in the future if they get married. She spends some time reminiscing on how sucky it was not finding a man to agree to those terms when lo and behold Ben appears who shares her same viewpoint. They get married and shocker (not shocker) he changes his mind and she doesn't. This disagreement is what is supposed to fuel the conflict for the entire book. "Supposed to" being the operative words of course. That little conflict peters out after about 60 pages or so and readers get to enjoy Claudia's ridiculously self-deprecating, poorly written, first person narration, while "coincidentally" the secondary characters' storylines all seem to revolve around children.

This is where I would normally warn readers about spoilers, but in this instance I won't because you shouldn't even consider reading this book. I can't spoil anything that was bad in the first place.

Rather then get the hundred pages or so of Claudia and Ben sorting out this disagreement like I had hoped, they instead neglect to have a true discussion on the subject and Claudia gets a quickie divorce. Yeah, weren't expecting that now were you, well neither was I. I could tell you the particulars about how every female character in this book is screwed up in some way, but I'll save that for when I'm whining about the twisted relationships in D.H. Lawrence's books in the near future. Instead, I will say that the whole cheating plot device that I was whining about earlier, is exploited times ten here. Claudia's roommate is dating a married man cheating on his wife, Claudia's mother ditched her dad for another man, and lets not forget Claudia's sister's cheating husband, who Maura"bravely" forgives, which is totally ok because it gives her power now over their relationship. HUH!! 

Despite the unoriginal and repetitive cheating plotline, the book really lacks content. I'd say that 75% of it is just Claudia's stupid inner monologue that just cycles back and forth between "I really don't want a baby" and "I should have a baby because then Ben will take me back and I wont be alone WAAAA". There is no real depth or exploration of the idea that society puts so much pressure on women to have children and women are forced to deal with the judgment of people who always insist that you can have a wildly successful career while still being a significant figure in your children's lives...even though time and time again that has proven to be a unattainable ideal.

The ending is also supposed to be a cliffhanger, but lets face it I know enough of Giffin's style to perfectly fill in all that she decided she would leave out. Had the ending been finished I have no doubt that Ben and Claudia would remarry and the two of them would ignore the topic of children for probably another year tops. Ben will bring it up again and Claudia, whose codependent nature will never allow her to function independently in the world, will cave. Then in true Giffin book fashion, Claudia will decide to give up her lucrative career in publishing and become a suburban housewife. Slowly she will resent her husband and the children she never wanted to have in the first place and Ben will wind up cheating on Claudia thus providing the readers with another instance of cheating which Giffin is so fond of utilizing. BOOM! Ending Complete.

I just have one more bone to pick before I move on to the rest of my Summer Read-a-thon and that seems to be one glaring similarity that I found to none other than the book Twilight. When I read this certain section of Baby Proof I did a double take and read it again to make sure I hadn't rage hallucinated. Then I checked the publishing dates of both Twilight and this book where I found out that Baby Proof was in fact published after Twilight. The instance that I'm referencing is when Claudia, deep in the doldrums over her quickie divorce, whips out her copy of Wuthering Heights and proceeds to devalue Emily Bronte's brilliant prose by comparing it to her own sad situation. Does that scenario sound familiar to you? Well it should because the eerily similar codependent Bella Swan trots out her copy of Bronte's novel and sullies it by comparing Heathcliff to Edward. I really am fed up with authors of crappy books throwing in the title of a beloved classic novel to try to make their main character dynamic and to draw some shoddy parallelism. The Bronte's are for me to enjoy, not for you to devalue.

Now I'd like to move on to the next book that I picked up today for the challenge. At first I decided to read another Agatha Christie novel, but for whatever reason I just wasn't in the mood. Instead, I started reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.



The premise sounded a little ridiculous, but I decided to give it a chance. I managed to read 50 pages before midnight rolled around and I shall be withholding all opinions until I finish the book.

With those last few pages and the end of Day 2 of the Summer Read-a-thon challenge my overall page count is now up to 955 pages!!! With my goal over halfway complete I think it's time to celebrate with a great cup of tea and a movie. Then maybe I'll ask myself why it is that I insist upon finishing a book, even when I find myself hating it halfway through. Until tomorrow...Best Wishes!