Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.

 

 

                             

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Beasts of Burden

Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In #0 (Beasts of Burden Vol. 1) - Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Jill Thompson Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites - Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson Beasts of Burden - Neighborhood Watch - Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers #1 (Beasts of Burden Vol. 1) - Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson Beasts of Burden Hellboy One-Shot Comic - Mike Mignola

In the film 101 Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita howl for help once their puppies have been stolen.  It is an interesting concept, this use of howling and work because any dog owner can believe it.  Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson start their excellent series about a group of dogs the same way.  The dogs of Burden, however, do so to call on the help of a wise dog.

 

                Wise Dog = Merlin or Gandalf, he is an English Sheep Dog after all.

 

                In Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites (the first four issues as well as a short story) chronicle the beginning adventures of Ace, Jack, Whitey, Rex, Pugsley, and their cat friend Orphan.   The story starts as the friends with the help of the Wise Dog, investigate why Jack’s dog house is haunted. 

 

                Apparently, Burden is the Sunnydale of the dog world because there is quite a bunch of weird things going on. 

 

                 Over the course of the first volume, the group of friends becomes wise dogs in training, guardians of the area, tasked to protect it.  Like most fiction involving super hero teens, owners (the de facto parents) are largely absent and a dog owner sometimes wonders what is going on with these people.  Yet, despite that wobble (and necessary plot hole.  To be fair, owners do make some appearances), the series is pretty darn good.

 

                In part, this is due to the dogs and cats remaining dogs and cats.  It is also because of the strength of the storytelling.  Animal Rites is in many ways, an origin sequence.  But the stories are heartfelt, and while not having the lecture footnotes of Atwood’s Angel Catbird series, the stories do comment on how we treat animals and each other in the world. 

 

                At first, the group is seeming to be entirely male, but female characters in the form of a dog and a cat are added.  In many ways, too, the dogs act like their respective breeds (though my Dobie was braver than Rex).  This isn’t a story for children, there is death of some pets (but not of the major characters), and the dogs sometimes are a bit, well, fierce.  It would be fair to say that the series is in part horror story from a dog point of view.  It actually remembers me a bit of Wayne Smith’s Thor.

 

                The issue Neighborhood Watch contains stories that are referred to in the later part of animal rites.  Included are a story about a chicken stealing goblin and a flock of strange sheep.  Honesty, the sheep story is one of the spookiest I’ve read in a long time.

 

                Hunters and Gatherers and Issue #0 seem to occur after Animal Rites.  Issue) details the story of one the cat characters in greater detail.  It is also a story about family.  IN the closing panels, you can easily see why the series has won awards.  Hunters is an adventure tale that does seem to change Watership Down in part.  The crossover with Hellboy is also very good, making Pugsley more than simply a downer.  It was both funny and touching.

HBO and its stupdity

Like most people when I heard about the new project from the showrunners of Game of Thrones, my reaction was WTF.  My reaction is based on the objectification that occurs from the first episode of GoT, not so much from the project itself.  Then as a fellow member of an online group pointed out, we don’t really now.  Perhaps the show will be nuanced and sensitive.  That is true.  It wouldn’t be the first such project to be based on alternate Civil War ending, that has been done before.

 

                But considering GoT and its gender and race problems, I’m not holding my breath.

 

                The other thing that bothers me is bigger.  Why this series?  Underground, a series set pre-Civil War, and boasting a predominately black cast was recently cancelled by WGN America.  If HBO wanted to tackle the question of slavery and race, why not pick up this excellent, well-acted, and well written series?  (Honestly, the “Minty” episode needs to win awards and awards and be taught in schools).  While Underground focuses on escaped slaves, it also has slave catchers (if that is really important to HBO) as well as abolitionists.  Honesty, you will never look at Chris Meloni the same way, and one of the best arcs during the first season was that of the slave-catcher’s son. 

 

                But, you say, HBO wants fantasy to replace GoT.  Okay, okay.  The thing is that there is plenty of fantasy out there.  Hell, there is plenty of fiction.  How about Segu by Maryse Conde?  Not fantasy, but the book and its sequel chronicle an African family as Europeans and Muslims start to influence/take over their lands.  It has everything in it.  Sex, violence, debates about religion.  Why not Segu?

 

                Or why not some of the work of Tananarive Due, such as her African Immortals series?  Fantasy, vampires, and far better than Trueblood.  I dare you not to cry after reading the first book.

 

                Or how about anything by Octavia Butler?  Hell, her works could keep HBO going for years.

 

                Are those works (and works by Okorafor, Hopkinson, Jemisin, James, Mosely among others) too black?  Is that?

 

                Okay then, how about the Free Man of Color series by Barbara Hambly.  She’s white, her main character is black, and it takes place in New Orleans right after the Louisiana Purchase.  Benjamin January, the title character, solves mysteries, and one his sidekicks is a white guy.

 

                Does that work for you? 

 

                Or how about this – adapt some Forgotten Realms stuff.  You got your fantasy, you got your dragons, you can have white people in it but you can also have Drizzit who is a black elf.  There you go.  Why not that? 

 

Or if you want alternate history, look at works such as Tremontaine or the Elephant and Maccaw Banner.  You could also do the Forgotten Realms Empire trilogy.   How about the Monoglaid?  The works of Cherie Priest or Chelsea Quinn Yarbro?

 

                OR how about the works of Max Gladstone – he has everything, including gods in his craft series.

 

                In some ways, HBO’s greenlighting of the project is a showcase of why representation matters.  IF the answer to a lack of people of color in GoT is the construction of a series based on an idea that is some people’s wet dream (honesty, read Confederates in the Attic), you are missing the point.   Hell, I’m probably missing the point with some of my suggestions. 

 

                We need representation.  Gene Rodenberry knew this.  He knew this, though he might not have called it that.   It’s great that the rough cut of the Black Panther movie is four hours, but it shouldn’t have taken it so long to have been made. Just like Wonder Woman. 

 

                Look, I know we had Electra, Catwoman, Steel, but look at the production of those movies compared to the white male hero movies.  It’s not the same.  And that is part of the problem.  Compare the advertising for Batman movies vs the advertising for Wonder Woman.  Look at the reaction to WW, and that shows you why we need it.  I hope the lines for Black Panther are just as long.

 

                Representation matters but so does what you chose to represent.  To take a fantasy/sci-fi genre and use it just for slavery, again, is at best a lack of literacy and sensitivity.  Why must all heroes be white and mostly (all) male?

Rocket and I go waaay back

FCBD: Rocket Raccoon - Joe Caramagna, Adam Archer, Skottie Young

When I was young, in grade school, I read the first Rocket mini-series, so the reast of you are late to the bloody party.

 

This adventure was quite fun and entertaining.  With quite a few twists.

Comixology owes Grimlock something

Star Trek / Planet of the Apes #1 (of 5) - Scott Tipton, David Tipton, Juan Ortiz, Rachael Stott

My spate of comic reading is in part because I joined Comixology (or got an account there) because of free comics offered when I got Wonder Woman tickets.  It is awesome that I can read many of my kindle comics there, so I have being reading, largely, freebies.  This was one.

 

Well, that and I went, let's see whatwe can find that Grimlock has read.

 

 

I am one of those weird geeks.  I prefer reading.  I like Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr Who but my interest waxes and wanes.  It really depends upon a variety of factors, but mostly connected to the writing and the market push a group makes.  I guess I am a Trekie, Trek like Wars has always been a part of my existence, and I do not really understand how the true are mutally exclusive.  Quite frankly, considering the recent entries and reboots from both series, I have to give the edge to Star Trek right now.  Star Trek was always better with representation.

 

Largely that is because I love, have always loved Uhura.  Growing up and watching the original series, I had two choices of women to latch on to.  Chapel and Uhura  (yes, I know Rand was there too, but really it is two).  As a child, I saw Chapel as the mopey one and Uhura as the one who did things, so I went with Uhura.  Which is the highest praise I can give both Nichols and Roddenberry.  I love ZS' s protrayal of the role as well. I do not have a problem with Spock and Uhura has a couple (but can we please not have a relationship issue in the next movie?)

 

Therefore, this comic is great because in the opening panels it has Uhura and Sulu kicking ass as undercover Klingons.  Anything after that was not as good.  It wasn't paid and it was pretty standard OST.  But those opening panels/pages.  YEs!

 

As for the Planet of the Apes bit - look I never got into those movies in any boot whatsoever so ask someone else.

Comic Book Post

Wonder Woman FCBD 2017 Special Edition (2017-) #1 (Wonder Woman (2016-)) - Greg Rucka, Jr.,  Romulo Fajardo, Nicola Scott Batman: The Gotham Adventures - Ty Templeton, Rick Burchett, Terry Beatty Red Sonja #0 (Dynamite Entertainment Comics) - Michael Avon Oeming, Mike Carey, Mel Rubi

Over the last month I have read several comic books/graphic novels that have been offered for free for kindle or on Comixology.  Here’s a some of the highlights.

Overwatch Series – This comic series, offered for free, is based on the video game of the same name.  It is a game I haven’t played.  The comic series, spanning ten issues, is pretty damn good.  There are quite a few woman characters, several of whom are women of color.  The series also covers several morality questions – what is good, just, right.  The series also uses characters who are older.  The artwork is pretty good as well.  While eight of the issues are basically character studies with action, the last two issues deal with Halloween and Christmas, and so are somewhat a guest star list type of story.  Familiarity is with the video game is not needed to read these, though they should be read in order.  This is because a character in one is the mother of the central character in the following issue.  While the series does offer a must know cliffhanger, it is resolved in the ten issues.

 

Various Batman Comics -  Overall the Batman comics were what you would expect from Batman, and yet, they were in some ways the most disappointing.  The Rebirth first issue was good, though perhaps straining at the very loose sense of reality that holds things together.  The sequence involving passengers on a plane was, in particular, really great.  Neil Gaiman’s Batman in Black and White was clever, if not as clever as it thinks it is.  But the taste of Batman was soured by two freebies, the 10c Adventure and Gotham Adventures. 

                Batman and the Ten Cent Adventure is not as bad as Gotham Adventures.  The basic set up is that Bruce Wayne is framed for a murder.  The story is told from the viewpoint of his bodyguard.  A young woman who reminds a bit of Black Canary.  She was Wayne’s bodyguard until she discovered his identity as Brue Wayne and then she became is crime fighting partner, just don’t call her Robin.  Her voice tells the story so we get very much of Wayne worship and of course, she is in love with him, though he doesn’t know it.  And poor Bruce had to break up with his true love which he does by inviting her to his mansion so she can walk in on him when he is with some other women.  Of course, then he stalks her when he is Batman because that is so romantic. 

                You see my problem. 

                Gotham Adventures is worse, even though it features the extended Bat family.  That comic opens with Batman, Robin, and Batgirl chasing the Joker.  Robin gets delegated to help some woman, and I am not really sure what Batgirl does because she doesn’t have anything to do with Batman catching the Joker.  The Bat group take Joker back to the Batcave because there is a bounty on Joker’s head.  Nightwing shows up and gets a few lines.  Finally, after several pages, Batgirl actually gets to speak.  Everyman had lines, mostly several, before Batwing gets even one.  She is left to guard the Joker, who of course knocks her out.  If it was Alfred getting the drop on the Joker the shit would have hit the fan.  While she is knocked out, the Bat men are all doing heroic things.   So, one woman, who can’t even guard a prisoner who is handcuffed.  It’s a shame really because it is leaves a sour taste in the mouth, and stops what would have been a pretty fun comic read from being so.

 

Various Wonder Woman Comics – So these include Wonder Woman Rebirth (FCBD editions and #1 itself) as well as DC Super Hero Girls.  The Rebirth issues are very interesting and good.  And guess what, one of the FCBD editions has two men talking about a woman and her relationship to one of them.  That is just awesome.  Really awesome.  In particular, what I enjoyed about the Rebirth idea was the concept of storytelling and retconning which WW’s Rebirth storyline seems to directly tackle.  This is wonderful because all the multiple origin stories get a tad confusing.   

                There was also an older Wonder Woman, apparently after Crisis of Infinite Worlds.  This is interesting because Diana Prince is no longer Wonder Woman, at least in name, though the villains still see her as such.  Which shows you that villains know better.  And this raises a question.  I have not read mainstream comics for several years.  But I do know that have been quite a few times when Diana Prince has lost the title of Wonder Woman (once to her mother).  I know that in the last few year, Marvel’s Thor lost his hammer to a woman, and Iron Man is, wonderfully, a young black woman but my question is this -  do any male super heroes lose their status or title as much or more as Wonder Woman has?  Why Wonder Woman?  I’m not trying to be snarky, I am legitimately curious.  How does this break down?  Anyone know?

                The Super Hero girl comics are cute, and intended it seems for a younger audience.  The two I read where actually the same story, one just longer than the other.  The story concerns summer break where Wonder Woman and Bumble Bee go to Mount Olympus.  The cast is multi-ethnic, though a bit strange – why Poison Ivy – but the series does show the girls working together and being there for each other.  Though, why Batgirl sightsees as Batgirl I don’t know.

 

There were some surprises in this comic freebie read – Red Sonja 0, written by Michael Avon Oeming and Mike Curry was actually quite good, despite the   costume that makes no sense and seems to have a magical power to stay still and not show X-rated bits.  Red Sonja Vol 4, #0 was not as good, in fact it was just annoying, with more teasing of body parts.  Damsels: Mermaids was also quite good and a wonderful take on Andersen’s Little Mermaid.  Honesty, this might just be my favorite version.

 

Of course, not much has changed in comics.  Women, in particular the heroes, are usually drawn with Triple DDD bust sizes and a middle that couldn’t house a liver or intestine.  The men are buff too, let’s be honest, but they at least have some room for internal organs.  This is particularly distracting in Grimm Comics because the story telling is good there, but the female characters so sexualized that it is nerve wracking.  The explanation seems to be Neverland, a spin off, because the Wendy character was actually dressed.  The Godstorm spin off was good too  - Zeus mediating on fatherhood was really great.

Personal Canon - Watership Down

Watership Down - Richard Adams

Watership Down

Richard Adams

First Read: 3rd/4th grade

 

                 I first read Watership Down after seeing the cartoon.  I was dusting my parents’ bookcase, and boom there the book was.  So, I read it and loved it.  Except for that one chapter.

 

                The basic plot of Watership is a quest by a group of rabbits as they try to find, first, a home and then female rabbits.  The rabbits have a trickster god called El-ahrairah.  The chapter that freaked me out when I first read it was a story about El-ahrairah going to the Black Rabbit (death).  El-ahrairah wanted to save his people so he gambled with the Black Rabbit.  Each time he lost, he lost body parts.  His ears were replaced with cabbage leaves and so on.  It freaked me out.  Really freaked me out.  It was the only time I ever needed a night light.

 

                It was the cabbage leaves.

 

                Yet, even this chapter couldn’t kill my love for the book.  I re-read pretty much every year though college.  Until high school, I skipped that scary chapter.  But then I read it again and loved it.

 

                The great thing about Watership Down is the whole language.  The whole world building.  The characters – Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Dandelion, Blackberry, Pippin, and Keehar (who is not a rabbit).

 

                I love those characters.  I love this book.

                Rabbits taught me much.

               

The Word Whore - (warning bad words ahead)

Let's talk about the word whore for a second here.  Man, well some women too, keep throwing it around as insult.  But I really don't think it is.  I know that many,if not most, women involved in the sex trade have serious issues with drug abuse, phyiscal abuse, and mental illness.  I know that many of these women have been forced to this job because of a varity of factors including abuse, poverty, or being sold into the business.  In no way, do I mean to diminish that.  I aslo know that the pimp takes most of the money.

 

I just don't think the men who throw the word "whore" has an insult are really thinking about all that.  Maybe they are, but I doubt it.

 

In a strict defination sense, a whore gets paid for sexual services, and this is the defination that most of those insulting men seem to be using (most often with the term suck cock).   A john is the man that pays for said services.

 

Isn't it worse to be a john?  I mean, you have to pay someone to have sex with you.  A whore gets paid.

 

Maybe we should call such really bad men Johns?  Maybe we should claim the word whore?

 

audio freebie

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

This book really stalked me. It's true; I'm not even a huge fan of the Daily Show. Look, it isn't Stewart or Noah, it's just not really my thing. I've even given up watching Samantha Bee after the election too - I just can't for some reason. But Noah in his interviews has always stuck me as someone to listen to so I figured why not. I picked up a copy, for free, at the MLA convention, and then later Audible offered me the audio book for free.

See, stalking.

 

But I can see why. Noah tells stories from his life - in particular about growing up in a society where literally he should not exist - his mother is black, his father white. That should not be. He is also geeky and uncool. Yet, perhaps it was his status as outsider that allowed him such a view into what he was witnessing.

 

Noah's stories include what happened with his crew, including top dancer Hitler, when they played gigs, his experience in schools, his ability to pray, and a very funny story involving shit that is also very profound.

 

But most of all, the book is a testament to his mother, who sounds like one hell of a lady.

A Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel - Marlon James

This is one of those books that when you first reading, you know that it is brillant. While I didn't slog though the first 100-200 pages, it was a bit slow, but then it really takes off and you don't want to put down the book, even if you are not huge Marley fan.

The title is misleading. The book might feel brief, but at 600 plus pages, it isn't. There are more than seven killings, and quite a bit of talk about rape and violence against women. Yet to not inlude this aspect would have made the book false considering the period and setting.

Marlon James tells the story in quite a few voices, and as such, despite the names at the beginnings of each section, he trusts the reader to be paying attention. Not everything is spelled out, and quite frankly if you have been playing attention, the ending shouldn't be surprising at all. I always love it when I read a book whose author doesn't think readers are idiots.

On sale

The Terror - Dan Simmons Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident - Donnie Eichar The Blue Sword  - Robin McKinley Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel - Pascal Mercier, Barbara Harshav Mornings in Jenin Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 Reprint edition - Susan Abulhawa Fledgling - Octavia E. Butler Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes - Michael Sims Medicus - Ruth Downie

On sale this month for kindle US.  

 

Also several Marvel masterworks

 

The Terror is slow, but good.

Overwatch Series

Overwatch #1 - Robert Brooks, Bengal Overwatch #2 - Robert Brooks, Bengal Overwatch #3 - Robert Brooks, Gray Shuko Overwatch #4 - Andrew Robinson, Jeff Cruz Overwatch #5 - Andrew Robinson, Nesskain Overwatch #6 - Micky Neilson, Gray Shuko Overwatch #7 - Andrew Robinson, Bengal Overwatch #8 - Michael Chu, Bengal Overwatch #9 - Michael Chu, Matt Burns, Gray Shuko Overwatch #10 - Michael Chu, Miki Montllo

5/5 stars for the series.

 

I'm reviewing the whole ten issue series.  It is currently free on Kindle and Comixology.  I think it is always free.

 

The series is about the characters from the video game of the same name.  I have not played the video game.  The series actually pretty cool.  At least three of the issues (5, 7,8) are linked pretty closely.  There are many women who are strong and who of color.  The science fiction aspects are cool.  The story telling is great, for instance in issue 4 you are not only reading a character study via action story, but also have a look at how to solve or deal with slums. 

 

Honesty, these are very short comics, but awesome.

SPOILER ALERT!

I read this so you don't have to

How to unlock her legs make a woman to have sex with you and to do anything for you - David Right

So as you can tell from the title, this is one of those get laid books. It includes gems like how to make the mood on a date (a first date) lighter - by slapping the girl on the bum. Also other girls will always be more attractive than your girl, but that's okay just go after them.

In fairness, he does recommend honesty and passion for a woman, including her interests. Though he keeps using the word girl and not woman. I am presuming he means adults and not illegal age relationships..

And sentences like: "Men need lose hope because all is not lost". I'm not sure what that means really.

or "Where Seduction forms the basis of foreplay, in fact is a part of foreplay".

There is this wonderful gem, "where romance never lasts and maybe makes you feel weak and give in, seduction is a cycle that keeps repeating"

By the way, all woman yearn to give men "deep passionante desires". Even lesbians.

He does, to be fair, have some good points - like humor and listening, but then says to lie because that will seduce her faster.

He also says you should hypotize women, in particular when they rejection you or are out of your league. So he really does look like a scumbag despite the nice points.

Then in the chapter about sex he worries about surronding sexist. BTW, women use sex as a bargining chip but this has been overlooked by a sterotype that uses it (I thinnk that is what he is saying).

Women are easily addicted to food, shopping and spending money, according to this chapter on sex.

And he has 3 perfect lines for after sex.

Boobs. He uses the word boobs! He tells you to bite and talk dirty. 

Men should be in control, he says, because women really like that. Then he tells men to do doggy style but five pages later says this is bad for the man, so I really don't want to tell you guys.


(There is also a huge disclaimer so you can't sue the author. Now you know why).

Hello rape culture book, how was your day?

Puns, Puns, Puns,

Away with Words: An Irreverent Tour Through the World of Pun Competitions - Joseph Berkowitz

Putting this in literary criticism because puns do pop up in quite a few books. 

I can honestly say this is not something I would have picked up on my own, and it was included in My Book Box for this month. Berkowitz takes the reader on a tour of Pun Competitions and brief history or look at puns in general. There is also a bit how puns are different than other comedy.

It's an interesting book, and give more respect to puns. Funny at times. If you like wordplay, read it. If you don't, you can skip it.

RIP Michael Bond

 

 

Image result for michael bond paddington

I thought it was a parody and then found it out it wasn't

Blood of the Sphinx - J. Johanis, Indigo Forest Designs, Jason Bradley
I really, truly do not know what to make of this book. I thought it was a parody, but apparently it is not.

This I found hard to believe.

This book would be better if Johanis lost what is supposedly the historical aspect. It's one thing to rewrite history and give those with tragic endings, happy ones. But this is like an alternate sci-fi Egypt on an totally different planet.

There is some weird shit going down. Like the fact that the men fight and then rape each other in the arena. Ummm. And I'm sorry, Sasha as a nickname for Caesarion? Adrian for an Egyptian guard?

Now to be fair, Johanis acknowledges the playing with history, a bit, and gives the bare facts in an afterword.

So I guess it's about kink, though where Sasha got a pick feather anus toy, I have no idea. But, hey, he is a blonde with long flowing tresses. (Yeah, I know).

The whole bit about seman, I honestly do not know where to start with that. I don't. That was just inventive, but very strange. And insulting.

Which brings me to a question - I haven't read much m/m erotica or romance. So is it normal for one of the partners to be constantly described in womanly terms? Even the sex is basically described as man taking a woman - some verbiage and what not. Honestly, you change some of the pronouns around and it could be m/f. Is that normal? I'm not a guy, but wouldn't the mechancis be a little different than standard frontal sex, right? I swear one passage makes it sound like the two men are entering each others womanly parts that they don't have. This confused me greatly. Do men have secret vaginas?

So as a parody it is quite funny, but it is not suppose to be one. So oops.
 
 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Author has promise, but

Girl Last Seen - Nina Laurin

I hate being the first person to give a book one star on Goodreads, I really do.  I really hate it when I am conflicted about that one star rating, especially when it is a debut novel.

 

But two stars means okay, and I didn’t find the book okay.  Official rating is 1.5.

 

                The basic premise of this novel is that a woman, Lainey, who escaped her rapist/abductor realizes that the latest missing girl looks like her and may be the first victim of the same sadist, the first in several years.

 

                All of which sounds pretty interesting.

 

                The best part of the book, and the riskiest, is the character of Lainey – who is really unlikable.  She isn’t so much of anti-hero as hapless.  It’s understandable considering that she is suffering from a variety of mental issues caused not only by her abduction and rape, but also because she had a shitty life before.  In many ways, this backstory in terms of Lainey is cliché and overused.  It isn’t so much the mental issues, as the fact that these characters never truly seem to be trying to get help to overcome these issues.  Look, I’ve suffered with depression for half my life.  I have good years and bad years.  I know how hard and difficult it is to get yourself into treatment.  That’s half the battle or more.  I understand that.

 

                But, also from experience, I understand too well what it is to live with people who are suffering from depression or other forms of mental illness and do not get proper treatment.  They refuse to, full stop.  It is absolutely horrible.  Not only for the mood swings and hurtful behavior and words that get spewed, but also because it is somewhat manipulative.  Look, I understand, but is absolutely exhausting.  And my practice for reading about such characters is very, very thin.  I live with these people, thank you.

 

                Therefore, while I admire the bravery that Laurin showed in her depiction of Lainey, I was also somewhat frustrated with it.  This frustration made the other problems with the book stand out more.

 

                Spoilers ahoy!

 

                Okay, I am sorry, but I don’t buy the American setting, I truly don’t.  I have never been to Seattle, but I am pretty sure there is more than one police station. Do Canadians and Brits just place books in Seattle because, hey it’s just like Canada to most US people, so don’t worry about sounding American?  I also cannot believe a school that does such detailed screening, so detailed that it gets information about a closed adoption and shares it to all the teachers, would not know about the abuse of a student at the hands of her father.  While I understand that many in the school would not want to do anything, there are two teachers where such lack of involvement would seem to be out of character.  Additionally, the whole public-school comment about suspension was just plain stupid.  I’m sorry it was.  I am a product of a public-school system, I teach products of a public school who haven’t students in public schools.  That statement was so crap.  I’m sorry, but it was.

 

                The whole reveal premise also does not work at all.  It really doesn’t I’m sorry.  I’m asking how too much and the answer, which seems to be the answer, is money for all the hows.  That’s at best sloppy plotting.  Sorry. 

 

                Okay, but those are quibbles.  The major issue is the relationship that Lainey has with Ortiz, the detective who discovered her when she escaped her rapist.  This is a seriously sick relationship.  If Ortiz is supposed to be the hero, he doesn’t come across as one, especially with his assault of Lainey in the opening section of the book.  Considering why he is there, wouldn’t Lainey’s social worker also be there?  Wouldn’t the social worker be there when she is questioned by the police?  If I am asking all these questions, I’m not being thrilled.  Then she sleeps with him.  Which, okay mental illness, drug addiction, but he is then supposed to be wise and caring.  Sorry, nope.  I really do not like abusive YA romantic leads, and this supposed cop is that.  The relationship would have head a purpose or been less objectionable if there had been some exploration of the problems with it.  But there really wasn’t, not until the sop at the end which doesn’t quite work. 

 

                              Honesty, this book is like a bad Lifetime movie in many ways, except for the character of Lainey.

 

                Yet, there is something there in the writing, you can see a spark every now and then.  A hint that the author’s later work will be better.  So, skip the book, keep an eye on the author.

Currently reading

Middlemarch
Michel Faber, George Eliot