Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Review: The MacGregor Brides

This book review has a history. It was the first one I did, sometime around the end of 2005. Someone named Attila the Mom stumbled upon it, thought it was humorous, blew coffee out of her nose, refilled her empty coffee cup, and a friendship was born—both bloggerly and personally. At my request, Mom found this review in an old Innertube vault so I could rerun it in the interest of keeping readers informed.

If for any reason you don’t agree with my opinion or it really revs your engine, please jot something down in the comments section.

* * * * *

The MacGregor Brides, Nora Roberts

As you all know by now, I approach every subject I write about with objectivity, integrity, and a keen sense of fair play—three characteristics that are, er, characteristic of me. Characteristically, then, and with no thought aforethought of being judgmental, I dove open-mindedly yesterday into the pages of The MacGregor Brides.

Jesus, what a piece of shit.

Okay, I confess that I didn’t read all 370 pages, but I did read 50 of ’em. Hell, if I’d read the other 320 I’d be back in the hospital seeking help for a book-induced frontal lobotomy.

A brief summary of the first 50 pages: Laura MacGregor, fabulously rich and fabulously beautiful, is fabulously adept at protecting the sanctity of her fabulous knickers. Royce Cameron, a fabulous pussy hound who thinks with his fabulously small schlong, is nearly into Laura's fabulous knickers by the end of Chapter 3. Laura is a fabulous attorney and Royce is a fabulous security systems designer, but in the course of human affairs they are both as vapid, as vacuous, and as dumb as a box filled with fabulously dead spiders.

Publishers Weekly said about the book, “[Roberts] delivers the goods with panache and wit.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Here’s a sample of Roberts’ “panache and wit” (page 33):

Royce: “If you change your mind about the meal, you’ve got my number.”
Laura: “Oh yeah, I’ve certainly got your number.”

The Los Angeles Daily News said, “Roberts is indeed a word artist . . .”

Here’s a bit of her “word artistry” (page 23):

“Her hair was black as midnight, straight as rain, and tumbled to a waist that just begged to be spanned by a man’s two hands.
“And she was wearing some of the sexiest underwear it had ever been his pleasure to observe. If the face lived up to the body, it was really going to brighten his morning.”

The Los Angeles Daily News continued, “. . . painting her story and her characters with vitality and verve.”

And here’s some “vitality and verve” (page 47):

“He lowered his mouth toward hers, stopping an inch before contact. He saw her eyes darken, heard the long intake of breath, knew she held it. He waited, while his blood surged, waited until they were both suffering.”

Make that three, pal; I was suffering right along with the two of you.

But as shitty as this book is—writing, story, and everything else-wise—51 reviewers on gave it an aggregate 4½ stars out of 5.

So what the hell is wrong with these people?

Or is it just me?


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Jesus, what a piece of shit.I love a good honest book review!

It truly does sound like a piece of shit and I believe that those who gave it 4 1/2 stars likely have shit for brains.

Jane said...


lolling up here in QC. (haven't been on much lately, but glad I didn't miss this one).

PS we're reading two of the same books right now - The Cellist and Capote


Charlie said...

BARBARA: Ever wish you could be honest like that in print?

JANE: Just when I thought you'd fallen off the face of the planet you show up in Canada. 'Tis good to hear from you.

One of Capote's stories knocked my socks off last night: "Children on Their Birthday." Very Faulkneresque.

Cathy said...

Nothing like beginning to read this, coming to the one-sentence second paragraph just as I'm swallowing a Cheeto, and having the blasted thing sail merrily down my windpipe. That'll teach me. This is, without doubt, one of the best reviews I've ever read!

Wandering Coyote said...

Good God - it's Nora Freakin' Roberts - no review needed!!

Kim Ayres said...

This all sounds hauntingly familiar - I think I must have read it the first time round. Your reviews are always far better than the books anyway :)

Attila The Mom said...

I still get a big case of the hyenas when I read this! I think it's one of my favorites posts of all time.

Anonymous said...

Charlie reviewing Nora Roberts????? I had a terrible sinking feeling there for a second. Then I came to the Jesus part, and I caught my breath again. But I'm still trying to get my mind around the WHY. Wasn't there a prescription label or a copy of The Watchtower available? Something else with words on it?? My MIL always seems to have a Nora Roberts book in progress. It makes me giggle to think of her devouring that stuff. "I like this one because it takes place in Ireland". Uh huh.

Charlie said...

CATHY: Sorry about the Cheeto, especially if it was the crunchy kind.

Thanks for the compliment; I wasn't quite sure how you would take it since my language was rather, uh, blunt. You can probably bet that I won't be getting any ARCs from Roberts . . .

WC: Reading between the lines of your comment, I take it you're not a fan.

KIM: Haunting is a good word. The review was resurrected from the dead once or twice, so you probably have read it. Sorry.

MOM: Thanks again for finding this thing. And trying to find a favorite on your blog would be nigh on impossible.

LW3 Not quite Faulkner, is she.

You are the first person who has ever asked the WHY. A blogger lady in California bought it for 50¢ (over priced) at a pre-owned bookstore and sent it to me as a joke. I gave it the 50 page test like I said, and I just had to write something scathing.

BTW, I know all of my script bottles and Watchtowers by heart.

Cathy said...

Charlie--You're not the only person who can be blunt. I just reviewed a book in a marvelous mystery series, and for the first time in a long time, no one's said "great review" or "I'm adding this to my wish list" and I think it's because I said upfront that the main character is not PC, and the two quotes I used proves that the language isn't straight from Pollyanna. Oh well. To each his own. If they won't read any of the books, they won't learn that he's one of the most moral characters going.

I will admit I've read Nora Roberts. The fourth time in the first chapter when she describes the luscious heroine as "wand thin" the book hit the wall.

The plaster still holds a grudge.

Kim Ayres said...

No need to apologise - did you not read my 2nd sentence? :)

Mary Witzl said...

You crack me up! And you cheer me up too: if this lady can get published, I'm a shoo-in.

I am absolutely positive that I wouldn't enjoy this book anywhere near as much as I enjoyed this review. And (true confessions!) I like the occasional crap book.

Charlie said...

CATHY: Perhaps I should have said profane instead of blunt, and I've never read a profanity-laced review on your blog. Readers seem to accept profanity in good quotes from a book , but if you had written The MacGregor Brides instead of me, I suspect you would have lost a lot of readers—the Puritan ethic still rules.

Snarky is fun, though.

And you surely know that yours isn't the first book to hit a wall—it seems to happen frequently with laytonwoman3rd.

KIM: Sorry about the sorry. Oops, did it again. I went back and read the second sentence and thank you for the nice compliment.

MARY: Bless your honest heart about reading an occasional crap book, probably meaning "romance." I understand that some are better writers than others, but I think Nora is at the bottom of the pile.

It must be so frustrating, knowing that you can write rings around someone but they're the ones in print making millions of dollars.

Joyce said...

Can you tell me why the hell you read this crap? Aaagh.

Charlie said...

JOYCE: Linda asked me the same thing (and I answered her above), but mostly it was curiosity when a blogger lady sent it to me (as a joke).

Cathy said...

You're right, Charlie. No laced (or unlaced) profanities on my blog...I think. There may be a stray "damn" in there somewhere. Too many strait-laces read my blog, but most of them are fine folks, so I think of them as I type--unless I'm reviewing Peter Bowen. ;)

Koolio said...

I have never read anything by Nora Roberts nor will I ever. I couldn't get through 5 minutes of one of her made-for-TV movies which I think speaks a lot for the story itself.

Good call! ;)

kara said...

i felt the same way about the Outlander. don't tell stinkpaw.

Charlie said...

KARA: ah-HAH! So that's why she hasn't been around lately.

But don't worry; mum's the word (whatever the hell that means).

Just a grail said...

Christ. I should have been warned.

Note to self:

Do not travel over here from Stinkypaw's blog just to check it out while at work, because it will crack your ass up causing the boss to ask what the hell is so funny anyway in the world of academia. (not one damn thing that's what!)

Charlie said...

JAG: Your boss is correct: there is absolutely nothing funny in the world of academia. Sad, sadder, and saddest probably works, though.

I realize this is a bit late, but be warned. Some of these blog pieces sort of sneak up on you.

And thanks for feeling adventurous on a Friday afternoon to visit me. I LIKE visitors a lot.

11pm said...

I found the last quote [from the novel] was actually pretty good.

I've read one Nora Roberts (alright, only half-way through) ... and intend to finish it in a year, maybe two. It really depends on if I run out of toilet paper.