**spoiler alert** Eve Rabi’s "Obsessed With Me" opens with the hero, Tarago, telling an old joke to his friends:
Q: “What’s the difference between a bi**spoiler alert** Eve Rabi’s "Obsessed With Me" opens with the hero, Tarago, telling an old joke to his friends:
Q: “What’s the difference between a bitch and a slut?”
A: “A slut will fuck anyone, while the bitch will fuck anyone…but you.”
Then a few pages later he regales them with another one:
Q: “A bruino (a coloured man), a charro (Indian man) and a peckio (black man) are in a car? Whose [sic] driving?"
A: “The cops!”
So right away you know what you’re in for. This is not your average hero. Tarago is a “sexist, politically incorrect, arrogant, male chauvinistic pig…loud, obnoxious and a moron with a penchant for women and whisky” who loves guns and booze and partying. Tanin is a waitress who works at Tarago's restaurant.
The standard crazy obsession trope begins, where the hero wants the heroine and is willing to use any means necessary to get her into his bed, because she’s so different from all the trashy whores he’s been with. It’s a story done over and over, but Rabi puts a twist on this by making Tarago a racist Afrikaner and Tanin is an Indian-South African living in 1993 South Africa.
It’s strange to see the racism dealt with so bluntly, taking a look from all sides in a very painful yet funny manner. There are lots of jokes in here. Plus, Tarago really is an oaf, yet somehow it’s oddly charming. He declares Tanin’s looks merit a five out of ten, and then uses that as a pet name for her: “Fyv.”
Tarago blackmails and manipulates Tanin into his bed, secretly marries her and brings her to his “Party Manor” (really, that’s what the plaque at the gates reads) to live with his siblings and collection of sexy blondes. Although Tarago seems menacing, he is just a big buffoon. Tanin derides his partying ways, describing him as “His face is red, his shirt is open to reveal a hairy chest, and his eyes are bloodshot. He looks a mess to me...Tarago sings with his hands in the air, looking like the moron he is.” At first, Tanin has no respect or appreciation for the dumb racist lug. When they’re in bed, she thinks of her ex fiancé. Eventually he wins her over, and they both change as their feelings for each other grow.
Tanin is a terrific heroine; while her situation is bizarrely surreal, she’s pleasantly down-to-earth. She deals with cheating boyfriends, backstabbing friends, hostile servants, and racists from all sides with humor, poise and great empathy.
Obsession is actually two books, but one story, as book one ends on a cliffhanger where book two immediately picks off. I agree with the reader who said they that they should be reviewed as one book. Together the two books total up about 340 pages, the length of one novel.
Bearing that in mind, Tarago’s characterization suffers from the first book to the second. In book one, he’s awesome, a wild party animal, a brute beast of a man who can be summed up as:
But in book 2, an accident turns him into this:
“Go fok yourself!”
I’ve read a few self-published books in the last couple of years, and while some stories have engaged me, the writing is generally so clunky that it’s a turn off from the plot. Here, yes, the books are filled with typos, grammatical errors, improper conjugation and, weirdly, after each foreign word is spoken the English is provided in parenthesis (which is helpful at first, but then gets annoying), but it doesn’t bother me, because the story really is that unique. At least Book 1 is.
Book 2 gets a bit flaccid. I really didn’t care for Tarago after 30% through. In the first book, he was so vital and domineering, but and in the second he just does whatever the other woman wants him to do. Events that should have emotional depth to them are rushed. The end gets confusing (view spoiler)[ it’s revealed that the other woman is Tarago’s niece and that issue is never remarked upon (hide spoiler)] and the resolution is too quick and convenient to be believable. Not that much of this story is believable. But regardless, it’s been a long time since I last stayed up all night just to finish a book (two books in this case).
For me, part 1 is a 5 star read, it really is that engaging. Part 2 however, takes the hero and bites off his balls and puts them in the other woman’s pocket, so it’s a 3 star read just for Tanin (view spoiler)[ who gets imprisoned, and fends off would be rapists with her martial arts moves (hide spoiler)]. It’s difficult for me to rate the books properly then, so I’ll split the difference and officially rate each book 4 stars, but part 1 is much, much better than part 2.