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,