Josie's Reviews > Boo

Boo by Rene Gutteridge
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's review
Oct 10, 2011

did not like it
Read in October, 2011

Oh, boy. I honestly don't even know where to begin with this one. It's pretty horrid. I had such high hopes for this book. All I wanted was a light, enjoyable read to balance out "Catch-22". This book CLEARLY proves that all the clever synopses and cool covers in the world won't distract from really bad writing.

Things I Liked:
Nothing. I continued reading purely out of curiosity, not that it was even the kind of book that you would expect a twist ending from. And true to form, there were no surprising.

Things I Disliked:

I was drawn in by the premise. And the location, which is presumably fictional. I live in Indiana, and much though I hate it here, I was psyched to have discovered a book that takes place in Indiana, even if it is only a fictional town in a fictional book. I'm not a big fan of living in a small town, but sometimes I enjoy reading about small-town life. It's like a coping mechanism, you know? Reminds me that I'm not alone. Anyway, even I was offended by the way Gutteridge portrays small-town people, though I'm unsure if this is because I felt offended that she didn't have one truly subversive character (All small towns have their progressive misfits! I'm my town's.). They were all caricatures. So hard to believe. So hard to sympathize with -- nay, impossible! Or maybe I was offended by her lack of creativity in creating her characters. They were just overpoweringly archtypical. There was the overbearing father who cleans his gun when his 30-something daughter brings home dates. (Incidentally, he's also Skary's sheriff -- what is this, Twilight??) The good daughter. Kind. Beautiful. Blonde, naturally. Home-makes everything. Adheres firmly to her wholesome Christian beliefs. Idolizes Martha Stewart. Dreams of getting married and having children. The sleazy agent. The old busybody. The busty, bubble-headed BFF to the Virgin Mary. The "bad guy/underdog" with a heart of gold. The eccentric preacher. The pathetical middle-aged women who wastes her life dreaming about men and marriage. That annoying guy who wants to deflower Virgin Mary/Martha Stewart. And a bunch of other lovesick dopes.

I find everything about the book impractical. First off, Wolfe Boone ("Boo", Skary, Indiana's saving grace and resident evil), has some sort of completely unemotional meltdown one morning because he can't figure out how to start his new horror novel, and so apparently he looks out his window (he lives in the house on the hill! he can see the whole TOWN from there! how trite!) and sees the church and trots on down there and is converted and is suddenly a Christian. Now let me take this opportunity to state that while I am an atheist, I have no problem with Christian art. I like Switchfoot. I coulda liked this book. But Gutteridge just get BEATING me over the head with the theme, and that bothers me with ANY theme, not just Christian ones. At some point it's like, "Okay, I get it! Stop condescending to me! I know you're saying God is the saving grace that I need in my life! Chill the fuck out, lady!" But I digress. So it's a small town so of course the news spreads like wildfire, and everyone is skeptical, especially wholesome Ainsley Parker with whom he is deeply in love from afar and has been for years. She's supposed to be this shining example of Christian goodness, but she's pretty rude to him in the beginning. Of course she changes and gives him a chance and all, but I still think she's a wholly improbable character. And apparently Woolfe is this inherently bad person because he writes horror novels? Come ON. I know some extreme Christians, and none of them think that, even.

Then there are all these hardcore Christians engaged in a plot to de-convert a man so he'll start writing horror novels again and bringing money back to their town? And the plot was completely deviant and illogical and nonsensical and it makes my head spin and OBVIOUSLY it failed! Duh, with a plan like that, success was not an option! And then Wolfe popped the question to Ainsley and she said, "Yes! Yes! Yes!", which seemed completely out of character for her, considering that they'd only been dating a month and hadn't even kissed. Oh my. Lots of things to hate that I'm forgetting.

In closing, this book can be read for laughs -- as in laughing at how bad it is.

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