Book Review. Le Divorce.

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Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

Novel

1998

A Plume book Published by The Penguin Group

Ugh

Ok, Let me start by saying that I LOVE chicklit…that easy to read beach bag “garbage TV” type of read at times and this is exactly what I expected going in. But can I also say that I wonder what generation this woman lives in? This utterly racist bitch?

Through out the book this chick is “afraid of black people” because the “ones they know in California” rob and rape and kill…and oh dear lord should she meet a black person that’s not like that in civilized fucking France!

If the girl had been raised in Compton…maybe so (and even I’ve spent plenty of time working in realestate in Compton with not a single issue.) But she was raised in an area of California and went to a college where this isn’t the case. She likely never saw a “thug” in her life. Herextent of African-American people is fully obviously from bad movies. Now I can see having put in this racial tension rather than leaving it out as it was completely useless to the story BUT…it could have been done in a much more real life way. As I know at her film school she knew at least one geeky black kid which should have been her basis of black people altogether. And likely wore a frickin argyle sweater. Santa Barbara is made to sound heathenish altogether through-out the book from the “blacks” to the comparison of the in-law’s in France. Then on top of the majorly politically incorrect (for which I don’t give a damned about, just do it right) is several mentions of the “retarded boy” out of the blue for no good reason of the story as well…why? What did that do to boost your story? And no actual description, he just sits there doing nothing…there isn’t a scene of watching the young boy chasing pigeons who runs up to her, trying to share with her the bread crumbs he’d been feeding to the pigeons and then when seeing his face realizes he’s…his mother called him away, apologizing as mum’s do for him bothering her.”

There are many spots in the book that have me want to reel the author in on real life and …today’s century. She uses phrases like “string them together so that they fizz” from the girl who isn’t into poetry at all at the time so she simply wouldn’t do much but look down at her sisters poetry as a joke but certainly wouldn’t speak of her sisters poetry the way she does “you wouldn’t have thought her thoughts would be odd and complicated.” Right there are about too many things wrong with that line to even begin with. I suggest a good read of Stephen King’s On Writing for dialog.

The dialog falls flat…so flat…this twenty something year old educated (even if dropped out) raised upper middle class woman speaks like a sulky goth fuck the world fourteen year old. But an older man sleeps with her and enjoys her company and intellectual conversation? Pfft. There are so many times while reading that I wanted to throttle the author because she obviously doesn’t breath the oxygen she’s given freely in life. And sex is “making it”? really? Really?!

Then to write French without an English translate (See An Italian Affair, well done) just had me not getting half the book (ok, well, I understood it but many would not).

The job of narrating is done horribly…you can do this narrating through out an entire book however do it right…reel me into the story not just a simple flat falling step by step “then they did this then they did that, then the end.” Then mixing completely flat narrating with valley girl talk mixed with the odd overly floral speech leaves me punching my pillow. It was like she was reading a Jane Austin novel during the writing but sitting next to a valley girl air head on the bus and then top it off with the woman having zero personality herself because not a damned drop of it bled into these pages.

What I did love were the quotes that opened each chapter, by Pascal, Hugo and Adolphe among others.

 

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