Friday, November 29, 2013

The Secret Lives of Married Women (Elissa Wald, 2013)

Two unrelated stories about the identical twin sisters. Leda, pregnant with her second child, moves into a new home with her husband and their kid. There's a guy across the street renovating some vacant house and for some reason she feels threatened by him. True, he's a bit pushy and doesn't exactly respect her privacy, but still it seemed to me that his only real sin was the fact he had recognized Leda in an old porn movie. And if I understood that shit correctly, it wasn't even hard-core porn. By this time we are well into 100+ pages and events finally start to unfold a bit. In a pretty ridiculous turn of events Leda is left to believe that her husband had killed that poor schmuck which turns her on so much that they can finally have a decent fuck.

And that's it, the end of the first part. Now we need to go back in time and endure another story, this one about her sister Lillian. She's as stereotypical tough bitch top lawyer type as they come (these writers really shouldn't watch so much TV) who gets assigned to a case involving an ex-nun/ex-professional slave in BDSM house now working (and being obsessed by) some blind clueless guy. Again nothing much really happens for the most part. Except that Lillian gets more and more horny and finally gets fucked hard in a tame SM scene where only act of sadism consist of a few belt spanks of her ass. And chapter later her court case drama ends with a pathetic twist.

In short: it's awful. Truly bad. I guess it probably tries to explore female sexuality but it falls short and immature. Far, far, far from a trashy exploitation or pulpy hard-boiled or even a simple erotic story. When I think about it, it's basically far from everything. Which is usually not a bad thing at all, but problem here is that it is just so fucking boring! Won't even go into the style as the whole thing feels like being written by the 15 years old aspiring kid encouraged by winning some literary award in a local newspaper contest.

Why did I buy this piece of shit in the first place? Well, it is published by our beloved HCC and occasionally I do read a novel written by a female author just to prove myself right about my rule about not reading them. Was also a bit intrigued by Junot Diaz (loved! his Oscar Wao btw) cover blurb but this too proved right my rule about ignoring that publishing marketing crap printed on the covers.

So this is what I get for disobeying my own rules and it serves me right I guess. But you have been warned! Just skip this and leave it to the bored housewives and 50 Shades of Gray fans. Many of them wondering around airport bookstores where this one belongs.


Added 7-Dec-2013:
Got a very passionate response (to put it mildly) to this blog post recently and after re-reading the text I admit I have pretty much deserved it. It does read mean and nasty and makes me look like a misogynistic asshole so I do feel a need to apologize and to clarify it a bit. Of course I do read books written by women; I just don’t read crime/mystery books written by women. I’m not saying they are all bad and won’t go into details about this issue so let’s just say I don’t seem to understand feminine sensibility about the dark side :) But would love to be proven wrong and will gladly check out any reading tips.

Again, sorry if this text was offending to you - it certainly wasn't my intention to insult anyone. Will definitely be more mindful about how I put together my posts in the future.


Twins Leda and Lillian

Portland and New York

Body count:
none. Or maybe a couple if we count an orgasm as a little death.

Twins and ex-nun, ex professional slave Nanette "Nan" Magdalene

Blackouts: /

Not many secrets of these two married women. They are pretty honest to their hubbies except for that Leda's porn flick and Lillian's "SM" quicky in the Hilton hotel..

Good as all Orbik's covers are - in this one he caught both of their expressions exceptionally well. But it's not too accurate because Lillian is not naked during her Hilton affair. It probably portraits the picture that Nan used for blackmailing.

Cool lines: /


  1. I would say that you're an idiot, but that would be clear to anyone reading your nonsensical babble.
    Suffice it to say that I suspect you to be highly unqualified to pronounce whether any book that "tries to explore female sexuality" falls short. Beyond that, your repeated admission that you failed to understand the underlying themes, as well as your clear and obvious, and readily admitted, sexism, make your self-important assumptions of authority in the written word, let alone female sexuality, laughably pathetic, if not outright ridiculous.
    More to the point, given the stunning number of basic grammar errors in your own writing, including incomplete sentences, dangling dependent clauses, and straight up misspellings, as well as the difficulty you seem to have maintaining a coherent thought all the way to a period, the conceit that you feel qualified to critique anyone's writing borders on the absurd.

  2. Hey Mark!

    Thanks for taking the time to write your reply and sorry to piss you off so much ;)

    I think calling someone you don't know an idiot or sexist (??!?) tells more about you than about him or her, wouldn't you agree? But anyways, what I would really like to know is what exactly did you like about this book so much?

    thanks again, take it easy!

    1. Um, I think you thinking that I need to know you to call you either when you present evidence in your written word says more about you than me. So no, I actually wouldn't agree. Beyond that, I would point out that I called you neither, which a careful parsing of my words would make clear. But careful parsing of words seems beyond your limited ken.
      But if you want justification for either of these contentions, would you like a list of logical and grammatical errors in your original piece? Or how about we make it easier and we just list the ones in your latest reply? As it is only four sentences, that shortens the list (somewhat; it's still pretty long).
      Failure to place terminating punctuation in first sentence ("Hey Mark!" is not a sentence, even if you try to hide behind the exclamation point.) Emoticon fail. ";)" is winking which implies lascivious content, NOT humor, which is the simple ":)".
      "Anyways": not a word.
      Logical fail: at no point did I make ANY comment about the book, positive or negative. Who's being presumptuous now?
      Punctuation fail. The penultimate sentence should NOT have ended with a "?" as it is NOT a question, it is a statement: "What I want to know is X".
      Capitalization fail on the final sentence and punctuation fail. Semicolon or period, not comma.
      Why does this matter? Because first, words matter. Words are windows into the mind of the author, and yours appears both jumbled and shallow. Besides, again, you are criticizing someone else's writing, and as such you afford yourself little lee-way in terms of your own linguistic and literary flaws.

      So again, you are in no position to be criticizing anyone's writing.

      Do you need the sexism inherent in your article pointed out to you to? Perhaps you are unaware of the definition. Sexism (n): prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. I would be very interested in seeing the logical, linguistic (and needless to say grammatical) gymnastics you employ to wriggle out of the charge that the claim that "occasionally I do read a novel written by a female author just to prove myself right about my rule about not reading them" is not "prejudging… on the basis of sex".

      Finally, you presume much in your assumption that I am pissed off. You give yourself far too much credit (something you seem to make a habit of). The shallow analysis of your article, its grammatical briar patch, and the clear and abject sexism of your views is little more than a minor annoyance, barely a blip on the RADAR, quickly examined, determined to be of no import, and just as quickly forgotten.

      Taking it easy.
      Wait, what were you saying?

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