Breaking Up with an Author: Spotlight on Julie Garwood’s Sweet Talk
Here be spoilers.
Breakups are never pretty. Someone always gets hurt. In this case, it’s me. I was hurt–offended, even!–by Julie Garwood’s latest book Sweet Talk. And it’s time to let go. I can’t put any more time and emotional energy into this relationship anymore.
Sweet Talk is offensive in every way. It’s a bundle of cliches straight out of the eighties–if this book were personified, it would hold an iPhone while still sporting its 1985 prom hair. Whatsherface (I’ve already forgotten??) has a ~*mysterious illness*~ THAT THEY NEVER ONCE NAME IN THE BOOK. Not once. There’s, like, chemo, and the possibility of toxemia, but other than that, nothing. They don’t say cancer. They don’t say freakin’ ANYTHING. She and her three cardboard buddies get through this disease by being little hellions–or “Pips,” as no one since 1985 has ever said.
She turns out to be stunningly beautiful in EVERY WAY, although she gets one flaw. Just one. Want to guess what it is? Don’t. It’s asthma. Yeah, asthma. I thought it was a smoking gun, but it turns out it’s just…asthma. And it gives bland, boring, past-less Male Lead a chance to show how awesome he is by carrying around a spare inhaler in case she needs it.
That’s about as kind and caring as he gets. In the beginning, he kisses her…then disappears for two months. He has sex with her…and then disappears for a couple of weeks. And she’s all “OH HE’S SO GREAT.” …When was that? I missed it.
Also, their sex life sounds so boooooring. OMG. And this isn’t a post-50 Shades thing. I mean, even by any standard ever, it’s utterly fucking dull.
Oh, and it has my favorite cliche EVER: an only-there-when-needed child. It’s cool, dude. Don’t act like you’re raising a kid even when you’re raising a kid. Shithead.
They never talk about anything personal, but of course they get married at the end.
Have you noticed I haven’t even spoken about the plot yet? That’s because it’s awful. Olivia (I had to look it up) comes from a rich family who hates her guts, because she went and got sick, which is just veddy veddy awful if you’re super-rich. Her dad is a scam artist that hasn’t been caught yet, but she’s going to make it happen, so she’s become a tax attorney. This actually sounds really cool, right? Except for the crappy distant-rich-family cliches, of course, but whatever. So yeah, good idea, right? Except.
Except except except.
Her family treats her like crap AND SHE KEEPS TAKING IT. Has anyone noticed that this is a huge trend in romance/chick lit? Like somehow, we’ve hit a generation of young women who constantly get shit on, and we’re supposed to applaud when they wipe part of it away from their eyes? Her father plots to get her into a mental hospital. Is this 1963? This is just so stupid. Her mother’s supposed to be clingy and whatever, and a GOOD writer would’ve made her sympathetic. A product of her time. Something. Anything. But no. She just wanders into necessary scenes saying the same thing over and over again: “I don’t think your father would do something like that.” It’s just so…utterly…dull.
Her sister is incomprehensibly a harpy, with no depth to that harpy-ness. We have to deal with her spineless husband, who isn’t spineless enough and seems to love the harpy for no reason I can tell. Everyone lives in a deep level of denial, but it’s all the same denial, which is just bad writing, as far as I’m concerned.
And I’m pretty sure that when the FBI is investigating your shooting, sleeping with an agent is pretty much not okay, okay?
This book is bad, bad all the way through, bad on each page. I hope it was ghostwritten, because I remember liking Garwood–not just way back when but semi-recently too. But I’ll never be reading another new one of hers. Forget it.