Friday, 12 February 2010

Writing About Reading: The Wonder Spot by Melissa Banks

This is a terrible book. Should you be hunting for something *anything* to read, possibly from the laughable excuse for a staff library, and your eye falls upon this, don't choose it. It's pants.

Sometimes I read rubbish books. Like with easy listening pop music, I occasionally like to prove I have very little varied taste.

At first, it put me in mind of this ace Austen quote:
"I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like."
Jane Austen on Emma, a fantastic book. A hugely likeable flawed heroine. And nowhere near the same as this loser.

The Wonder Spot: unlikeable heroine, no character developement, devoid of a narrative arc, a limp excuse for a meandering plot, an unresolved ending. I know, I know. The last point makes me sound dumb, but I can't help it. When it comes to books, I like a happy ending. Or at least a *decent* ending.

JC says I should've expected to be disappointed, pointing out that it had a "free with Marie Claire" logo on the back cover. I told him he shouldn't judge... oh, you got there before me, did you? Right.

One thing it did prove was that my previous panic-inducing snail's reading pace was a product of EM Forster, not my commute, or any other excuse. Phew. I was able to finish Melissa's masterpiece in a jiffy.

The one (single) thought this book did lead (back) to was my recurring question about the possibility of writing decent, compelling, interesting chic lit without a quest for a hero at its heart. Or where a heroine ends up single, and happy, despite romantic dalliances. And what that might look / sound like.

*Spoiler* (I'm not sure why I'm writing that: the only spoiler would be if you didn't take my advice and spent the next however-long spoiling your life trying to get to the end of this) The Wonder Spot woman doesn't end up cosily coupled up. But it's not a satisfying ending either. The hunt continues...

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