June 18, 2010

Girl Crazy - Russell Smith

I grabbed this book off of my TBR stack last weekend as I was heading down to Toronto for the weekend and wanted something not too heavy that wouldn't tax my brain too much - airport, airplane, and hotel room reading in other words.

Well, this book lived up to my expectations in that respect, and for the first half of the book, the plot was engaging enough that it kept my attention. But then I got bogged down in the second half.

I finished the book on Sunday evening, so have had a few days to digest it, and I have come to the conclusion that I really didn't like it. Or I guess I should say, I didn't get it.

It is a strange book. I described it to my sister as being almost "Chick Lit" for guys. But, not being a guy myself, I don't know how it would stand up to a reader of the opposite gender. It starts off with the Chick Lit formula, but with a male author and a male protagonist. Guy just broke up with his "normal" girlfriend, stuck in a dead-end job, falls in lust with a girl much younger and in a different social class as defined in our Canadian society. They are happy together for all of about 5 days, and then things fall apart. Our happy protagonist is drawn into a world of drugs, violence, and gambling (actually, I didn't really get how the gambling chapter fit with the rest of the book), is still lusting after the girl, and then just when he seems to have turned the corner and managed to get his life back on track, there is an ambiguous ending.

So what were my (numerous) problems with this book? First of all, I didn't like either of the main characters. At first, I could relate to the protagonist, but then as he got dragged into the above-mentioned world, I lost my sympathy for him. And his girl was someone that I definitely wouldn't like in real life. Then there were the heavy issues that were touched on (human trafficking, gun control) but it wasn't even implied that there was something wrong with a society that would allow these things. And then there was the fact that I, as a female reader, resented the fact that all of the female characters were presented as being their bodies and nothing more. And finally, the writing. Though it kept me engaged, I did after a while notice that the author tended to re-use certain words quite frequently (this was also one of my many beefs with Twilight, if you recall). If I had to read about one more "taut" body, I was going to throw the book across the room!

OK - I'm glad to get that out of my system; and fortunately I am reading a much better book this week!


B.Kienapple said...

Oh boy, I have to read this one for the EYE book club next month. After his comment about female publishing professionals, I'm dreading this one. It's one thing to write an erotic book but quite another to flat out objectify every female character.

Kate said...

B. Kienapple - good luck with that! What did he say about female publishing professionals? Will your thoughts be online next month?