Cara's Reviews > The Seaside Letters

The Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter
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's review
Mar 25, 12

bookshelves: fun-or-frivolity
Read from March 23 to 24, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I was looking mindless reading when I picked this book. It overdelivered.

It's the story of a guy who is madly in love with the waitress at a cafe. He doesn't actually know her, and she's cold and jerky whenever she sees him and wants nothing to do with him, but he will not be deterred, so he strikes up a conversation with her online. When she doesn't want to meet or reveal who she is, he hires her as a pseudo-private-detective to help him try to find... her.

Let's leave aside for the moment that fact that if he was anything but the hero of this story, he would be considered a creepy stalker.

The fact that anyone outside of junior high really thinks this plot is worth hanging a story on, and someone actually published it!, was blowing my mind. It was like the asshole impulse to turn and look at the car wreck as you're driving by, even though you know that when you do that, you've just become part of the problem. It was obvious how it would end, but I just had to know: would this book really drag on for over 300 pages with nothing to support the conflict but two people too stupid to tell each other the truth? And if so, what _would_ finally get them to tell it after all that b.s.'ing around? (If only I had checked the back cover and discovered it was Christian fiction, I could have saved myself hours of my life I'll never get back.)

Well, karma is a bitch, because what finally happens is far stupider than I could have envisioned. After 200+ pages of "oh, I love him so! but I can't let myself feel this because I might get hurt again. No, despite everything, I must remain an ice queen!" and "oh, I love her so! despite no encouragement whatsoever and no evidence of anything appealing in this chick really, I know can't live without her and will stop at nothing!"--repeat, ad nauseam, with a stupid cousin pretending to be her thrown in for good measure--what finally ends it is the discovery that it was his sister's husband she slept with the one and only night she got too drunk to remember anything and got taken advantage of. And she holds herself responsible for breaking up the marriage because having sex with someone who buys you a drink and seduces you is so horribly whorish and unforgivable, she couldn't possibly ever be worthy of love--or even like--ever again!!!11one!!!!

OMG, seriously?!?!?!

I find it very disturbing that there are still people running around with the warped, simplistic view of the world presented by this book. This is the kind of shit I used to read as a kid, and absorbing this kind of bullshit message caused me all kinds of screwed up problems later in life. As far as I'm concerned, books like this should be taken out and shot.

Lesser complaints:

- This is another author trying to add color to her stories by creating characters with amusing quirks like the main character playing with the end of her ponytail when she's nervous, and one of the cafe patrons bringing in a new big word every day to try to stump her. Ooh, how unique and clever.
- In a flashback, we see how the main character met Jared, the guy who broke her heart and caused her to lock herself away from love forevah. They met because she was afraid of a guy in a truck who offered to try to help her jump start her car or give her a ride home. She was totally convinced he wanted to rape her, but then Justin came along and saved her from this menace! ...Yet, after they break up, she decides to drown her sorrows alone in a bar far from home, gets totally plastered, and goes home with a strange man, with no qualms whatsoever? Did this chick somehow get all through college (with her English degree that we're apparently supposed to be very impressed about!) without hearing horror stories and learning you should never drink alone in public?
- Everything is so fucking overblown in this story. I really hate books where the whole thing would be over by page 2 if anybody would just stop acting like a total moron for 5 minutes.
- I'm so over the glorification of relationships in which someone doesn't know the other person at all, yet will pursue her to the ends of the earth, come hell or high water. She's on his pedestal, and no matter what she does, he's keeping her there! That is, until such improbable day as they have an actual relationship and he actually gets to know her. How about some reality? Please???

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