Reasons why this book grated on me (mild spoilers but I don’t care, you shouldn’t read it anyway):
Copious boob descriptions. Behold:
- The twin peaks that strain against the middle buttons of her blouse
- Her soaked T-shirt leaving her as good as naked from the waist up. But even though her breasts were resplendent – small but perfect, with nipples standing up like finials in the pelting rain…
- The nipples inert in the heat of the day
- The way she let it all hang out – breasts rising from their moorings
- Breasts bobbing
- And her breasts – nipples foremost – assert themselves against the soft weave. (This is while she’s wearing a sweater!)
- Pretty pair of molehills
Misogynistic behaviors and expectations:
- Jodi lays out pajamas for her husband. I don’t even do this for my 8 year old.
- In the first day we know him, Todd wakes up, is pampered by his wife, ogles his secretary, lights a joint, harasses his mistress, finds it hard to not order a beer at lunch, takes a nap at work, then goes to the gym after work.
- Todd and his best friend lose their virginity together while on a double date in an RV. It’s meaningful to them that they shared this “seminal” experience, that one overhead the other’s vocal passage into manhood. GAWD!
- How hearing someone’s voice wakes up Todd’s gonads
- How Todd and Jodi meet after having a car accident. He is a total dick to her and yells at her. Her response is to have dinner with him.
- When Todd is talking to Jodi about his affair and impending fatherhood with his mistress, he says “don’t make it hard for me. It’s not like I planned this. It’s just the roll of the dice. We don’t decide everything that happens to us. You know that.”
- Mention of Todd’s friends being “forced” to take refuge in the adults-only section of the classifieds as a way of not cheating on their wives because, marriage, amirite?
Other reasons this book seemed off:
- Strange and out of date terminology like calling someone a blockhead, reading the classifieds, and talking about Todd’s gonads
- Strange responses, like when Dean finds out Todd is sleeping with Dean’s daughter, Dean says “I’ll rip your head off, you stinking turd.” Is he 12?
- Also, a friend responding “oh dear” when Jodi says her boyfriend of 21 years has gotten someone else pregnant. Spoiler alert, they’re not 80 year old women.
- The fact that not one, but two women in the book, wear pantyhose (this book was written in 2013). In fact, Jodi loves them SO much, she even wears them under her jeans. I’m sorry, what?
- When Todd basically accuses Jodi of having an affair with the 15 year old in their building. The point of his jealousy would have been made using literally any other person, but Harrison thinks we need to talk about Jodi having an affair with a 15 year old.
- Also, whenever there are descriptions of the food Jodi makes, it just doesn’t sound appetizing. She goes to so much trouble to make hors d’oeuvres and meals that just sound…beige.
- The baby names that are thrown out are just blah.
- This description of a woman that Todd is attracted to: “gaunt with lank hair and hollow cheeks – makes him think of an undernourished child. She has a long torso with a flat chest, jutting hip bones, and a concave belly. Feet like planks but narrow. Eyebrows unplucked.” There’s also a bit about how Jodi goes limp when they’re having sex and it arouses Todd.
- A conversation Todd has with a waitress he’s trying to impress where he just starts talking about how his father breaks his mother’s arm. This is supposed to show that Todd is sensitive and vulnerable. As expected, the waitress just walks away and then Todd goes into this really cringey shtick: “I’m sure you hear sob stories all day long, and you deserve so much better – a man who can forget about himself and focus on you. Pamper you. Bring you flowers and gifts. Massage your feet when you get off work. Min froken, you iss all day oon da foots and now iss rilly sore.” And THIS WORKS!! Just ew.
- Jodi wears a halter dress and sandals to a professional conference.
- The lawyer. Who talks. Like. This. URGH!!!!
I was shocked. SHOCKED, when I realized this book was written by a woman. I was also shocked to learn this book was not written in the 80’s. I was additionally shocked to learn that this book had a good reception.
And if you’ve read it, I get it. We aren’t supposed to like Todd. Fine. In that way this book succeeded. Harrison managed to write a disgusting human. But if it was truly just about making Todd look bad, why does she then have the waitress, for example, show interest in his perplexing effort? It takes me out of the story, because I think, no normal woman would respond to that.
The fact that Jodi tries to win Todd back is infuriating as well. Like, why? Not only has he cheated on her, he’s going to be a father with his mistress – who’s 21 years his junior, and his best friend’s daughter. And he’s a total dick on a good day. I thought it was a joke or ploy. But no, she wants him back because she is also a terrible human being.
Then there’s the whole side story about Jodi going to therapy which surfaces an important childhood memory. How this has any bearing on the story at hand, I don’t know or care.
I felt that the writing of the book was a distraction from the story. It was grating and out of touch and made me want to gouge out my eyes with spoons.
I just can’t. Please don’t read this book.