Thursday, December 8, 2011

Feel Better Yet? How 'Bout Now? Now? Now?

Didn't I say I was going to take a break from reading Christmas romance? Didn't I? Huh? Huh?

Well, I didn't. As I was perusing my Kindle, I found out I had down-loaded this freebie (One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson), and I couldn't resist.

That'll teach me.

It started out okay....for about 1/2 page. Then it got bad. And worse. And more depressing. And filled with despair. It's about a crumbling marriage. And a woman filled with guilt. And a daughter filled with anger. Everyone's life is going down the toilet. Down deeper....and deeper...and deeper....

I didn't like any of the characters. They were irritating, self-absorbed, and some were downright duplicitous. The husband was okay. I didn't like the daughter. Or the daughter's friend. Especially the wife. I didn't even like the brother. The business partner. Or the delivery guy.

At 12% I thought, things will get better soon, right? At about now? At about now? At 79%....please, now! Please, I'm begging you! At please? At 99%....too late.

Why did I keep reading? Because I kept thinking it would get better.

So, about half-way through I finally realized this was a Christian Inspirational romance. (The references to God/Jesus and prayer time finally registered in my thick skull.) I have no problem with that at all. In fact, the only bright, hopeful spots in this book for about 99% of the story were when the characters prayed.

Prayer: Dear God, I love Daniel. Please let our marriage survive. 
Dialogue: Daniel, you are a horrible father. You neglected our marriage. You never tried to understand me.

What the hell is that? I have never seen such a big disconnect between deep POV and/or internal prayer time and the actions/dialogue of a character. Natalie keeps thinking she loves her husband, and then she turns around and acts like a snotty selfish ding-a-ling. O-kay.

At one point, I actually wished Natalie would file for divorce so her poor husband could find a new woman who would be nice to him.

I cried at the end. Three times. I'm not sure if this was from sheer emotional exhaustion, or if I was moved by the Christmas spirit.

See, this is why I need to avoid contemporary romance at all costs. Because I don't want an "imperfect" Christmas with real-life problems. Selfish wives, run-away hubbies, conniving daughters, conniving daughter's friends, interfering family members, ineffective therapists, depressing subject matter. Who needs it?

There were a few sweet moments in this book....all of them had to do with the mother who was incapacitated by a stroke, and her long-suffering husband desperately trying to hold it together. But after all that angst, what I really wanted was a wonderful reunion between Natalie and Daniel. And it just didn't happen. Two sentences on the last page do NOT make a HEA.


This book was not poorly written, and as far as standard contemporaries go, I'm sure it was okay. I just found it depressing as hell. I was sort of wishing for a spanky elf to show up at the end and lighten the mood.

Grade: C? For...Crushing My Soul? D? For...Darkening My Day? F? For...Forcing Me To Take Lexapro?

I have no clue how to grade this book. I give up.

Anyhow, as God is my witness, I am taking a hiatus from holiday romance. *signed in blood and sealed with a shot of egg nog*

Going to read the comics,


Unknown said...

Well that sounds like a depressing day. Please indulge in something very funny today. :)

Penny Watson said...

I read the comics, and I'm getting myself a pumpkin spice latte later. Happy Day! :^)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Oh no!
Leave the romance, take the egg nog.
Maybe it's time to reread something that takes you to your happy place?

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Sounds kinda like my trip to Walmart yesterday. The longer I remained in the store, the stronger the urge to kill myself grew.
Yeah, give me spanky elves anytime. You must be a saint to read this stuff.

Penny Watson said...

Yes, Juju....I need a good re-read. Maybe Amanda Quick or Julie Garwood!

Penny Watson said...

Oh, Julia, Walmart is not good. It sucks the life out of you within a matter of seconds. I always follow up a trip to Walmart with a trip to Starbucks to get my pumpkin spice latte and refresh my wounded soul!