July 24, 2008

Stuck in Downward Dog - Review

I was a little leery in choosing this book to review as a part of the Mini Book Expo. It falls under the "chick-lit" category - and I've never been particularly inspired to read anything from that category. After reading, "Stuck in Downward Dog" by Chantel Simmons, I'm still not.

"Mara Brennan is about to unravel. Three days after her twenty-eighth birthday, her boyfriend dumps her, leaving her with nothing but a basement apartment, a futon and a pile of unpaid bills. On top of that, her job, working as a receptionist at a cosmetic surgery clinic, is a nightmare; her boss is a tyrant; and her best friends have gotten ahead of her in the game of life. Mara realizes it’s time for an identity makeover."

There's nothing glaringly wrong about the book - It moves along alright, though it seems to take forever to get started. The characters (flat and obvious) are clearly developed (although the boss is hardly a tyrant), and there are no loose ends at the conclusion.

I'm no literary critic, but like with most art, I know what I like, and I didn't like this. It really isn't about anything. The rising action of the novel is an ill planned dinner party, and it falls short. I don't care about what this book is about. I can't relate to the characters, which is odd since I'm in the same stage of life as these ladies. I didn't like the main character, Mara, at all. She wasn't just naive and "zany" as others have described her. She was dumb and ignorant of the world around her.

I didn't laugh out loud either, just like I no longer laugh out loud to any early 2000's sitcom. These 261 pages are just that, a forgettable sitcom where TV actors go to fizzle away into nothing. It's just missing the plastic soundtrack and canned laughter.

I've read plenty of books where I have nothing in common with the characters, and still loved them, so that's not the problem here. Her problems are just so ridiculously mundane, I couldn't get into it, because I couldn't care less.

Maybe it's a Toronto vs. Maritimes thing? I don't know... there's just nothing of lasting value here. If you want to read a book that has no impact on your life, leaves you annoyed with the 20 something generation (even when you're a part of it), and that you care very little about, this one's for you.

There's a reason 90% of the books in library sales are authored by women, and this is part of it.

2 comments:

Shannon said...

Thanks for the review - Now I can stay far away from it!

When are you coming to Truro?Yo?

lex said...

As a maritimer in TO, I'd say perhaps it's a genre thing. Chick Lit's not my genre and I find much of it to be so trivial it pisses me off to spend my time on it.
I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the book, but I like your write up! Hopefully, you'll enjoy one of the other titles more.