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Mr. Right Goes Wrong
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SusanS



Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:11 am    Post subject: Mr. Right Goes Wrong Reply with quote

Maggie, thanks for your spot-on review of Pamela Morsi's latest. I picked up the book and was so horrified by the premise that I didn't read it. I can't think of anything more unromantic than a story about a woman who wants to be treated badly, an a man who is willing to trick her into thinking he is an asshole. Reminds me of a bizarro world version of The Boyfriend School by Sarah Bird, which I reviewed as a guest many years ago here.
http://likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=2151
I've enjoyed many of Morsi's books, but this one is just wrong on numerous levels.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1240

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the review: Iíll start with why this book isnít an F. Itís not an F because the author is an experienced writer and her prose is smooth and easy to read. Itís not an F because the glimpse of small town life we see around the disaster that is Mazy is charming. Iís not an F because a few of the periphery secondary characters that were sketched out enough to be more than cardboard cutouts were interesting. But the other factors in the book? Definitely F material. Letís start with the main characters. They were scary....

This kind of reminds me of some people's reaction to "Ain't She Sweet" because they didn't like some characters or events that happened in that story. Or...the belt strapping episode in Outlander. Or...a widow sleeping with her brother-in-law in The Next Best Thing.

These are all reasons for a book not being someone's cup of tea; I get that. But other reviews of Morsi's new book see the story somewhat differently, not unsimilar to the various ways others received Ain't, Outlander or Next Best. All of this is a good example of depending not only on the text of a review instead of the grade, but also either knowing a particular reviewer's taste, checking out multiple reviews, or just checking the book out for one's self. I respect a reviewer's honest reaction, truly, but I'm betting this book falls within the depending-on-your-own-taste range.
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LFL



Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 708

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I respect a reviewer's honest reaction, truly, but I'm betting this book falls within the depending-on-your-own-taste range.


Every book falls within depending-on-your-own-taste range. While some factors we can judge books on are objective, such as spelling errors, enough of them are subjective that personal taste always comes into it. Reading is a personal experience that takes place in one's own mind, and a reviewer, like any reader, forms her opinions from that personal experience.
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I also post elsewhere as Janine or Janine Ballard
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1240

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LFL wrote:
Quote:
I respect a reviewer's honest reaction, truly, but I'm betting this book falls within the depending-on-your-own-taste range.

Every book falls within depending-on-your-own-taste range. While some factors we can judge books on are objective, such as spelling errors, enough of them are subjective that personal taste always comes into it. Reading is a personal experience that takes place in one's own mind, and a reviewer, like any reader, forms her opinions from that personal experience.


Okay... Let me try to re-phrase. This seems like one of those books that will likely have more decidedly divided responses to it than other books, like the books I did mention in my other post. IOW, yes, of course readers have different tastes for all kinds of books, but I was thinking the difference in response to this particular book may be more "lively" than the average bear, maybe even potentially heated, like Outlander and Ain't. That was my point within the context of my entire initial post.
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2500

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:56 am    Post subject: Re: Mr. Right Goes Wrong Reply with quote

SusanS wrote:
Maggie, thanks for your spot-on review of Pamela Morsi's latest. I picked up the book and was so horrified by the premise that I didn't read it. I can't think of anything more unromantic than a story about a woman who wants to be treated badly, an a man who is willing to trick her into thinking he is an asshole. Reminds me of a bizarro world version of The Boyfriend School by Sarah Bird, which I reviewed as a guest many years ago here.
http://likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=2151
I've enjoyed many of Morsi's books, but this one is just wrong on numerous levels.


Glad to know I am not alone. Laughing

Maggie AAR
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She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. - Louisa May Alcott
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2500

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LFL wrote:
Quote:
I respect a reviewer's honest reaction, truly, but I'm betting this book falls within the depending-on-your-own-taste range.


Every book falls within depending-on-your-own-taste range. While some factors we can judge books on are objective, such as spelling errors, enough of them are subjective that personal taste always comes into it. Reading is a personal experience that takes place in one's own mind, and a reviewer, like any reader, forms her opinions from that personal experience.


So true!

Maggie AAR
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She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. - Louisa May Alcott
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1240

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for accuracy: Of course readers tastes differ. Who doesn't know that? But LFL took just one sentence out of a complete thought (context) which had the effect of changing its intent and direction (the potential for greater reader polarization than usual), and even after an additional explanation, Maggie applauded same. And yet we are annoyed when news organizations and others do the very same thing, that is, pick the part that suits them while ignoring the context. Nice. And yes, I do understand posters can choose what they want to post. Still. Nice.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 795
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SusanS...
Quote:
"I picked up the book and was so horrified by the premise that I didn't read it. I can't think of anything more unromantic than a story about a woman who wants to be treated badly, an a man who is willing to trick her into thinking he is an asshole."


Interesting review and curious book. I would want to know if Morsi is critiquing abuse by presenting it in an off-beat way of a couple responding to sex addiction and low self-esteem through role-play, or if the book is endorsing victimization for entertainment purposes. I couldn't quite tell from the review alone on this particular issue. In any case, I have read romances of women and men that are addicted to degradation and manage to heal themselves in the end, partly through the love and acceptance from a trusted partner. I'm not opposed to the themes here but rather would want to know if the author's stance is a critical one and if she is successful in pulling it off. The review suggests not, and so I would think potential readers might want to put a little more time into researching this book having been forewarned.

However, the point in the review that most caught my attention as troubling is AAR Maggie's observation that a potential lover assumes the personality of an abuser to make a woman fall in love with him only to discard that persona at the end so that he could return to his "true" personality. I have to agree here that if you pretend to be another person entirely, how would you ever trust the likelihood of a "happy ever after"? Lying about aspects of your life, such as identity, name, events, etc., is one thing and fairly common in romances, but lying about who you are in terms of your true self sounds like an insurmountable barrier. Puzzling premises all around for a romance. Once again, I'm thankful for the AAR reviews as well as reader reviews. They are the first things I look at when logging in.
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erika



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What bothered me the most isn't the hero its that the heroine as a mom exposed her son to guys who treated her like a disposable sex object and she still had sex with a guy who hit her child!

I get that writers writing about sexually liberated and flawed heroines is quite popular but a heroine who's a parent exposing her child to child abuser and sleeping with that child abuser is really over the top and disgusting.
I wonder did she ever apologize to her son for exposing him to that?? Did she ever go into parenting class?
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 795
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erika...
Quote:
"I get that writers writing about sexually liberated and flawed heroines is quite popular but a heroine who's a parent exposing her child to child abuser and sleeping with that child abuser is really over the top and disgusting."


I haven't read this book, but from the review the heroine doesn't sound anything like a "liberated" woman. She sounds like a woman suffering from possible sex addiction, low self-esteem, and even self destructive behavior in her professional life; in other words, someone in need of expert counseling and treatment. I don't interpret promiscuity with sexual liberation, male or female, and instead often see it as a sad result of lack of self-respect and self-love. How can a parent like that possibly raise a healthy child, emotionally or physically? Yes, that's a sad premise for a romance, which is, I think, one of the reasons why the reviewer found this book not to work as a romance.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 795
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just as a quick aside, I was so affected by the gut-wrenching indie film, Shame, starring Michael Fassbender, as a sex addict attempting to live a normal life. I don't think I ever viewed promiscuity as anything but sad and in need of professional treatment, but this movie sealed the deal for me. Highly recommended!
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1240

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two links on the theme of difficult characters:

All is Forgiven?: When Characters Do Bad Things by Leigh Davis
http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2013/11/all-is-forgiven-when-characters-do-bad-things#more

By happenstance, Ain't is the first book looked at, followed by three other books. Leigh also provided a link to several authors commenting on this same topic.

Guest Post: Difficult Heroines by Molly OíKeefe (with comments from Cecilia Grant, Stephanie Doyle, Sarah Mayberry, Caitlin Crews, and Ruthie Knox)
http://dearauthor.com/features/letters-of-opinion/guest-post-difficult-heroines-by-molly-okeefe/

There are readers comment sections on both of the above too that some may find interesting.


Leigh: There are numerous reason why a book doesnít work for a reader. But one of the most common is that the reader doesnít have empathy for the character or condone his or her actions. But as many of you have already surmised, perfect characters can be pretty boring. And that is why many authors dare to take risks and create problematic, challenging characters, or characters that make objectionable mistakes.

Molly: But largely, and I think most of the authors who take chances on setting, or conflict, or plot Ė the appeal is the challenge. The challenge of trying something new, of changing some minds, of breaking the molds. Itís not easy, and it doesnít work for every reader, or writerÖbut itís fun.
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erika



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackjack1 wrote:
Erika...
Quote:
"I get that writers writing about sexually liberated and flawed heroines is quite popular but a heroine who's a parent exposing her child to child abuser and sleeping with that child abuser is really over the top and disgusting."


I haven't read this book, but from the review the heroine doesn't sound anything like a "liberated" woman. She sounds like a woman suffering from possible sex addiction, low self-esteem, and even self destructive behavior in her professional life; in other words, someone in need of expert counseling and treatment. I don't interpret promiscuity with sexual liberation, male or female, and instead often see it as a sad result of lack of self-respect and self-love. How can a parent like that possibly raise a healthy child, emotionally or physically? Yes, that's a sad premise for a romance, which is, I think, one of the reasons why the reviewer found this book not to work as a romance.


Eliza posted an interesting view from the authors.
I admire authors who write complicated heroes/heroines but if there's no character growth at the end the HeA is hard to believe at least it is for me.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1240

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the comments was right in line with one of my own initial thoughts about difficult characters:

"I have long wondered why the unlikeable/difficult threshold for heroines in Romance is so low, especially when the comparable threshold for heroes is so high."

Have we as women come somehow to expect or accept "bad boys" while at the same time are likely to be more critical of women in fiction?
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erika



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've become harder on heroines after reading romances for 30+years while becoming more tolerant towards badly behaving heroes.

I think that when a hero or heroine acts irresponsibly towards a child there's almost no coming back from that. I want to see some sort of acknowledgement of wrong doing if a complicated hero/heroine puts a child in harms way like this heroine did.
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