Sunday, June 28, 2009

. . . for the worst book of the decade so far! And it's a strong contender for the worst book of the century, even though it's early days yet. I don't know who has been bribed, but the book A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick has been receiving wonderful reviews. It is without a doubt one of the worst books it's ever been my misfortune to pick up. There just aren't appropriate words in the English language to describe how much I loathe this book . . . but I'll give it my best shot.

The story would seem to be promising. A 50ish man in 1907 Wisconsin places a personal ad in a newspaper advertising for a reliable wife. A woman answers the ad and eventually goes to Wisconsin to marry him. However, she is not all she claims to be and she has nefarious plans of her own.

It would seem to be a good basis for a story, but the author is a terrible writer. This is obviously another one of those "paid by the word" excesses, because this book is filled with repetition, unnecessary detail and general lack of action. Ralph, the man looking for a wife, goes on and on for many pages over and over throughout the book about his miserable former life. Just when you think he's wallowed enough, he'll bring it up again. He's also obsessed with sex, and so time and time again we get to hear about his youthful excesses and his current loneliness. Katherine is inexplicably entangled in another relationship, even when the object of her desire tells her repeatedly (in this book, there is no other way to communicate), "I despise you!" Well, that is one way to a lady's heart.

The writing style is just preposterous. Nearly every sentence was restated 3 or 4 times. For instance, "She went to the library. She walked to the building with books. She entered the place of learning." That's not a direct quote, but that's the gist of it. And it gets better! After she enters the library, she decides to read about plants. So (again, I'm paraphrasing), "She read about lilacs and roses. Then she read about orchids and hostas. After that she read about tulips and geraniums. She read about lilies and . . ." and on and on. Several pages to tell us she read about PLANTS!! Did you notice, I was able to convey that she read about plants in FOUR WORDS?? It was ridiculous. And things like that happened over and over in this pathetic excuse for a novel.

Page after page and paragraph after paragraph and sentence after sentence of boring and inexplicable repetition. Didn't this guy have an editor to reign him in? I kept on until the bitter end because, due to the aforementioned glowing reviews, I thought it must get better. It doesn't. I'm sure I've permanently damaged my eyes by rolling them so far back in my head so often.

I checked out this book from the library and I thought about doing a public service and setting fire to it, but in the end I couldn't be that anti-social. Not like the publishers who foisted this dreck out on the unsuspecting public!

Final Verdict for A Reliable Wife: Zero Gherkins -- in fact, I'm not even going to sully the beauty that is the gherkin by attaching it in any way to this train wreck of "literature"


smitten by britain said...

Ha, ha, I bet they make a film of it.

Lisanne624 said...

Well, maybe that would be more interesting, since I think most of the characters' musings were in their heads! At least a film would have some action!

Gail Is This Mutton? said...

Oh Lisanne you're a tough reviewer :-) But I enjoyed it!

Sheila DeChantal said...

You know it will win awards... LOL

Loved your review. :)

Lisanne624 said...

Oh Gail, you must have bunches more patience than I had! :)

Lisanne624 said...

Yes, Sheila, I'm sure this will scoop all the big awards this year! I can usually tell that if Oprah or the reviewers love a book, I'll hate it!

About Me

My photo
I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

I'm waiting! My library holds

Header by:


My LibraryThing Library

The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

Blog Archive

Popular Posts