Book Review – Flashback

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger –

I would never have read this book if it hadn’t been chosen for my book group. Even now, I can’t believe I read this garbage! It should make for an interesting discussion!

The reason I gave it 1.5 stars is that she did actually make two good points (along with all the baloney).

First – your husband is not a mind-reader. Tell him what’s going on. Don’t expect him to guess and then be mad when he guesses wrong.

Second – if you are having trouble, talk to your husband first, then a therapist or clergyman. Don’t talk to your girlfriends. Male bashing is NOT the way to solve your problems. It may relieve a little stress and help you vent, but it will backfire and cause even more hostility. Your husband deserves your loyalty.

Other than that, I really couldn’t believe that this kind of stuff was being advocated in this day and age! For example, don’t expect your husband to help with the housework. After all, you don’t go to work with him and help him with his job, do you? (It’s not like women have anything to do besides stay at home and clean the house, right?) And don’t get too fat – you have no right to overeat. And don’t ever tell your husband no. He has a right to expect sex whenever he wants it.

As I talked the book over with my husband (of 26 years, almost. We must be doing something right!) we agreed that the most annoying part of the book is that she sticks men and women in these stereotypical gender roles and just leaves it at that. Men are big, dumb, simple creatures who basically want a hot meal, a hot wife, and a pat on the back. Women are supposed to be content to keep the house clean and please their man.

And yet, I see that other women have rated this book much higher than I have. What can I say? This is NOT the kind of relationship I want. It’s not the kind I want for my children. I want them to see a healthy partnership, where each partner is loved and valued as an INDIVIDUAL, not as a type, and where both partners are allowed, even encouraged, to express their feelings and desires and have them validated. Where there is a firm commitment to working together to solve problems when they come up, where neither partner is responsible for all the work in any category, but where flexibility is stressed. I DO NOT recommend this book in any circumstances. I think it perpetuates an unhealthy definition of marriage and if followed will cause a lot more problems than it resolves.

 


In this updated review, I want to include some information about the author. Dr. Laura Schlessinger is indeed a doctor, but not of psychology or social work. Her degree is in physiology. She is licensed in social work from the state of California, but only got some training in the subject.

She also had a conservative talk radio show that aligned with Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the like. She’s had a messy personal life with directly contradicts the advice she gave in her column and show. She is an anti-feminist, in case you can’t tell. She’s also made anti-gay comments and racial comments, apologizing afterward, but with an air of “sorry you’re mad” rather than “sorry I said it in the first place.”

This was one of the most popular reviews I did at the time. It still makes me ill that she was able to profit from such negative and destructive advice. If you are hearing stuff like this, turn away. Marriage is a partnership between two individuals, not between categories or stereotypes. If you’re having trouble, talk to each other first, then to a credentialed therapist.

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Review: Private

7134202Title: Private (Private #1)

Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Format: Audiobook

Source: Audible freebie

Setting: Los Angeles, present day

“Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a private investigation business that was WAY COOLER than the cops? With a super advanced crime lab that had all the latest stuff? And investigators who could carry big guns and didn’t have to follow all the police regulations? And they worked for all the big clients because they were so cool?”

Well, yeah, I guess that would be neat. Not very believable, but neat. And I would read that.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we had a whole bunch of diverse characters that all have sexy secrets and every one has this like, diverse background that we’ll go into in complete detail, like an Irish secretary who is working on her citizenship? And a quirky scientist guy who does his own forensic exams? And a damaged main character who inherits the whole business from  his criminal dad and has to fight with his EVIL TWIN BROTHER???”

Um, I guess so. Evil twins are kind of over done, but…

“And would wouldn’t it be EVEN BETTER if the crime exposed the rotten underbelly of Hollywood with the mob and prostitutes and drugs and serial killers after school girls and a conspiracy to undermine professional football?”

Wait, how does football fit in to this?

“Wouldn’t you totally read that?”

Not on purpose I wouldn’t.

“Oh, so we’ll just throw it all in there a little at a time, so you’re already hooked on the story and you have to read it to see what happens. Wouldn’t that be super cool?”

Nope.

Standalone: Book Review of Crimes Against a Book Club

I saw this great idea over at bookslayer33414407reads, to focus on Stand Alone books once a week or so. I’m making this one my first entry.

Title: Crimes Against a Book Club

Author: Kathy Cooperman

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Source: Kindle First book

Format: Ebook

Synopsis:

“Best friends Annie and Sarah need cash—fast. Sarah, a beautiful, successful lawyer, wants nothing more than to have a baby. But balancing IVF treatments with a grueling eighty-hour workweek is no walk in the park. Meanwhile, Annie, a Harvard-grad chemist recently transplanted to Southern California, is cutting coupons to afford her young autistic son’s expensive therapy.

Desperate, the two friends come up with a brilliant plan: they’ll combine Sarah’s looks and Annie’s brains to sell a “luxury” antiaging face cream to the wealthy, fading beauties in Annie’s La Jolla book club. The scheme seems innocent enough, until Annie decides to add a special—and oh-so-illegal—ingredient that could bring their whole operation crashing to the ground.

Hilarious, intelligent, and warm, Crimes Against a Book Club is a delightful look at the lengths women will go to fend for their families and for one another.”

My view:

This sounded like it would be right up my alley. I love my book club, I love humor, I love caper stories, so this seemed like a natural for me. And there were definitely parts I liked. But the parts I didn’t like really bugged me!

I could totally sympathize with Annie. I have three kids with medical problems and the bills can be overwhelming. My kids sometimes wonder why we didn’t take vacations to Disney, why we didn’t sign up for dance lessons and music lessons and have nice cars. Easy – all our money went to medical bills. The idea of coming with some crazy scheme to finance a new therapy – sign me up.

And I appreciated that they weren’t taking money from other cash-strapped moms, but from the upper crust, the ones who want whole heartedly support conspicuous consumption. I got a little tired of how outstandingly attractive Sarah was, how she only had to show up and everyone wanted to talk to her, to be her. You know, she’s been on hormones to get pregnant. That makes you gain weight and get puffy.

My real problem was the secret ingredient. SPOILER:

It’s cocaine.

And that’s my biggest complaint. Annie comes up with this brilliant scheme to make her skin care creme more attractive, to give it that extra something. I was expecting something kind of like this, but really? Has she never heard of the health risks? She takes a few really basic precautions, like telling Sarah not to sell it to pregnant women, but that’s about it. What about those elderly women? What about those with heart problems? It’s so unbelievably stupid for such a supposedly smart woman to do. And then when the consequences inevitably hit, I just had to roll my eyes. There was a lot of potential in this one, but in the end, I just couldn’t buy it. Sorry, but not recommended.

Book Review: Family Tree

Title: Family Tree

Author: Susan Wiggs

Heard about it: on Goodreads

Setting: Los Angeles and Vermont

SPOILERS!

Annie Harlow grew up on a sugar maple farm in Vermont, but she’s enjoying her new life in LA, married to a charming husband, working at her dream career, and at last, expecting her first baby. Then the world comes crashing down on her — quite literally. A piece of equipment falls on her head, causing TBI, traumatic brain injury. Annie wakes up in a hospital to find that everything has changed while she was asleep, including her. She’s back home in Vermont and now she has to rebuild her whole life.

I’m torn whether this one counts for the Read Diverse Books challenge. Annie might be a minority, but I’m not quite sure on that part. The author never makes it clear, just says that she’s “too ethnic” to be on camera (according to a network, not the author). But the TBI does cause some major soul searching on Annie’s part as she has to relearn how to talk, walk, and survive on her own.

My problem is that the brain injury is treated so lightly. Yes, she is in a coma for an entire year. But so what? Does her family have a financial crisis because of this? Do they have to take out a second mortgage? Are creditors hounding them for payment? No. Is her family feeling the terrible strain of having to oversee her care while living their regular lives? Are they fighting over what should happen next? Are they exhausted from being at the hospital night and day? No.

And how about Annie? Does she suffer any lingering mental or physical handicap from her – let me emphasize here – TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY? No, not really. She’s even DRIVING a couple of weeks after going home. Seriously? Is she disfigured, scarred? Her muscles are atrophied, which I would expect, but the more serious problem is – wait for it – HER MANICURE IS RUINED!

OK, I know that TBI is a real thing. But this is not anything like realistic. It’s the absolute opposite, in fact. And given that, it really didn’t matter to me that the descriptions of Vermont read like a travel brochure, or that all the cooking in here made me crave maple syrup. I just couldn’t get past the ridiculous plot. I kept skipping all the flashbacks to see what happened right now, but Annie never had to deal with anything like what the real consequences would be.

I am NOT recommending this one. It has good reviews, but I just can’t bother with a book or an author who doesn’t do more research.

Currently reading The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, and I’ll tell you what, you cannot accuse the man of skimping on research.

 

Some Brief Reviews

Still reading and still writing. I’ve finished Chapter 1 in my book, and it’s off to a solid start. Of course, the beginning is always easier. But I’m happy so far.

Reading is not going as well. I made a very nice exchange lately, 3 bags of books, most like new, donated to the new library in the next town, and then I bought 2 bags of old mystery paperbacks from my library. I’ve already finished 2 of them, and neither one was very good. But it was kind of fun, in that they were authors I’d never tried before, and I like trying new authors, even if it doesn’t pan out. So here are the reviews:

Wycliffe and the Guild of Nine by WJ Burley

Apparently the last in a series about a British police detective. The story is pretty solid – a woman who lives at an artist’s colony in Cornwall is found murdered – but the whole thing is a little dated.

After Francine inherits a bunch of money, she is found dead in her cottage. Was it the money? Or was her murder related to her involvement in the murder of her father years ago? The characters are not very believable, but the whole thing was interesting, very unlike any other mystery I’ve read. But it was written in the 80s and it shows. Police procedure has changed so much, plus Wycliff is all upset about his – GASP! Female Boss. Um, what? I can’t take you seriously right now.

Not sure I’d recommend this one. I like British police mysteries, but I don’t think I’d read more by this author, even if I could find one. 2.5 stars

Alibi in Time by June Thompson

Inspector Rudd, #7

Very unpleasant writer Patrick Vaughan is found dead from a hit and run. After a lot of talk, a lot of detail about what the police are doing and thinking and eating, we find out he was murdered by *SPOILER ALERT* the doctor who found the body. Because, well, he had it coming. There’s more to it than that, but everything is so slow and again, so dated. 2 stars.

But I can end this up on a high note!

Eric by Terry Pratchett

Once again, a great Pratchett book. I love this guy! Eric is a 14 year old boy who tries conjuring a demon. Instead he gets a semi-competent wizard, Rincewind. He makes his 3 wishes, but none of them turn out quite the way he had expected. I laughed out loud all through this one.

*Update*
Just listened to this one and it is still freaking hilarious. I loved it as an audio. The whole view of Hell as a bureaucracy is just brilliant. Give me fire and brimstone any day! 5 stars. Really.