I get called names on a fairly regular basis. I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but I spend an exorbitant amount of time criticizing people’s livelihoods. Because of this (the criticizing) I usually shake of the name calling and contribute it to a “knee-jerk reaction.” But a few years ago (I’m going to say like 4 – I’ve slept since then) I was corned by a coworker (shortly after Tweeting “made another one cry today…2 points for me!”) and was smacked with the mother of all insults. I was called VOID. That’s it. One word. POW!
Now, for most of you this is going to sound lame or at the very least slightly ridiculous.
“Void? That’s the “mother of all insults?” Please…I could introduce you to four letter words that would make your toes curl.” To which I say: Awesome!!! Shoot me an email. But first…let me explain why the word “void” punches like Mike Tyson pre-crazy train.
Void (for this particular instance) is defined as: without contents, empty.
Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but me personally? I’d like to believe I have at least an inkling of something significant going on inside, whether it be happiness, pain or disappointment.
So I started thinking. About myself. (For the record, I don’t advise this…it’s pretty scary) and realized something…my coworker was right. (*Smacks head*) At the end of the day, I am one of the best listeners you will ever encounter. Want to vent for eight hours straight? Knock your lights out. I am a champion nodder. But don’t expect me to reciprocate. MY issues don’t leave the vault. If I have a problem I can’t solve I’m going to bottle them up until I dissolve into tears on the bathroom floor. THEN…I’m going to take that bathroom floor incident and shove it into the bottle with the original problem. If you didn’t see me cry it never happened right? (Tree..falling in the forest…blah blah blah.)
I know (probably more than most) that being externally “void” isn’t exactly healthy, but when it comes to books? Denial and child-like petulance make for cozy bed-fellows. Just ask Serena from “Love Me For Me.” She makes me look like Dr. Phil.
When 50 Shades first came out I refused to read it. Not because of its content (I couldn’t have cared less about the BDSM) but because everyone and their grandmother INSISTED I hop on the band-wagon. (I don’t do well with mainstream pop-culture throat shoving.) But after roughly 100 emails from followers asking for my “unfiltered opinion” I finally broke down and submitted (pun intended) to the masses. And…after a few days of marathon reading I finally had a response…
“The STORY is beautiful. The WRITING needs to be doused with kerosene and lit on fire.”
Naturally this didn’t sit well with people.
“That doesn’t make any sense!” “How is that even possible? Aren’t they the same thing?” “Are you sure you read the correct book?”
All valid questions (except the last one…I mean really? I’m not that dumb.) And ones that I think I can finally (after reading LMFM) successfully answer.
Love Me For Me (much like 50 Shades) is about two tortured souls just trying to find a happy place in the world. They both have secrets, they both have communication issues (Selena much more than Alex…admittedly) and they are both terrified of loving someone. (For one reason or another. In Selena’s case it is insecurity of her past.) The story of how these two come together, lean on each-other, and eventually trust each-other is haunting, thoughtful and beautiful. The problem is…the writing conveying the story is less than stellar.
As an imaginative person my mind is able to look past certain things like repetitiveness:
But to a casual reader nuances like these become a thorn. Especially when a book has so few pages. (146)
Also a problem…underestimating the reader.
This genre has a formula, and that formula usually involves some deep dark secret. And while it’s ok to say it once “I won’t tell him my secret” It’s not necessary to reiterate it over and over. We get it. There is no need for the main character to continually repeat it. To herself or out loud. Doing this makes the reader feel small. Like we aren’t smart enough to pick up on the more “subtle” clues the author is throwing out.
But here is where things get complicated. The difference between “story” and “writing.”
If the bones (aka plot) of the story are strong enough…ANY reader can overlook poor editing and less than spectacular writing and see what is meant to be seen. And that is the feelings and intentions the STORY is trying to convey. In the case of Selena and Alex (and his perpetually gruff/husky voice – someone get that boy a glass of water.) the story was about forgiving and forgetting. Letting go and moving forward. Something I think all of us can relate to at one time or another. The bumps in writing along the way DON’T change the STORY, they just make it a little clumsy to get through.
Does that make sense? (Let’s hope so, because I’m not sure I can edit this post again.)
Overall, miles away from being the best book in this up and coming genre. But a good starter book for a new author. Let’s just hope she gets her sea legs soon, because if she drowns due to technicalities it would be a shame.
Take it or leave it. That’s my final verdict.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Stories are what drives us, not typos.