Cannonball Read #5: The Dangers of Mistletoe

So I went to the library to looking for some sort of Christmas classic that I've never bothered to read, but since it's the holiday season, they were all checked out. Thus, onto plan B: if I can't find something good, I might as well find something as bad as possible. Using the keyword "Christmas" on the library's catalogue system, all sorts of gems popped up, and fortunately Theresa Alan's The Dangers of Mistletoe was in stock. Lame title, creepy cartoony people on the cover that reminded me of Wheat Thins ads of yore, and an endorsement from chicklitbooks.com? Perfect.

I don't have much to say about the book itself except that's a combination of the worst kinds of lazy writing imaginable. The book is told in the first-person perspectives of a pair of sisters, the chapters switching off who narrates the story. Amber is single, lives in New York, is struggling to make ends meet with her massage skills, and of course has trust issues with men. Emily is recently married to a widower with two kids, lives in Colorado near the sisters' mom, and wants to pull off the best Christmas ever so her stepdaughter and mother-in-law will love her. Add some pseudopsychoanalysis of the sisters' daddy issues (their dad left their mom, and they verbalize this in both conversation and narration ad nauseum) and you've got what must have been the result of someone thinking, "You know what would make a great book? A Lifetime original movie." Then add some references to websites that read like product placement and pop culture comparisons that seem out of place. Sigh. It's books like this that convince me I could be an author if this is the kind of stuff that gets published.

I guess I'll fill up the rest of my review requirement by stating how much I dislike first-person narrative. It can be well done (see: The Poisonwood Bible), but it's hard to pull off if you have less than interesting characters. Especially characters that feel the need to tell you about themselves instead of just letting it come through their actions and reactions naturally. Why create interesting characters with motives they don't even know about when they can directly correlate their men issues to their daddy issues which is why they do everything ever and they're going to narrate and tell everyone in the book about it? Granted, The Dangers of Mistletoe reads better than the popular Twlight book series that obnoxiously uses first-person narrative for Bella's boring perspective*, but that's only because the characters seem to have life goals beyond "spend all my time with my marble-like boyfriend" and instead have goals like "find steady employment" or "be a decent stepmom." Decent goals, not particularly interesting when told from these roughly sketched characters.

But whatever. I'm the one who picked up the book, so I have no one to blame but myself. And don't worry. I've got more crappy Christmas books on the way. Can't wait til finals are over and I feel motivated to read non-fluff books again.

*How delightful was it when Jacob's perspective took over the 4th book and the book was interesting for 100 pages?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking one for the team, Kelsy. You just saved me a few hours of angry ranting after reading a crappy book.