(LANGUAGE WARNING, I'M GOING ON A RANT)
Oh, it's lonely here in I-didn't-like-this-land.
I've been reading nothing but raves about this book for more than a year, so I was looking forward to reading it. I'm not going to say anything about the story, it's been done to death, other than to say I liked the story itself right up until I just. could. not. read. any. more.
I liked Ryan very much; I felt his background and situation was portrayed realistically and not melodramatically. If I lived next door to him I'd have fallen for him like a rock as well. My problem, AND IT WAS A HUGE ONE, was with Sara. It must just be me; I found only one other review that even mentioned it. My response to her was almost immediate and completely visceral; my update says it all:http://www.goodreads.com/user_status/...
It started when Ryan told her what he did for a living. First of all, she didn't understand what he meant by "escort". Colour me skeptical, but what female DOESN'T know what that word means? Then she freaks out (ok, that I understand) but then turns it around so it's about how he's betrayed her
. HUH??? Then she's mad because she babysat his dog while he was out fucking other women.
"I don't think details are a good idea, Sara." There was a difference between honesty and stupidity, after all.
"No, I want to know," she said, some more anger creeping in now. "How many women were you sleeping with on your trip last week while I was here, walking your dog, and feeding your fish, and taking your cat to your vet, and - "
I'm sorry, how about NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.
Sheesh. You've lived next door to the guy for a couple of months, hung out together as friends. You thought he was gay, for crissake. You hid how much you wanted to jump his bones because you thought he didn't like you.
Now you can't understand how it's a job, how he feels trapped, how he tried to get out once before but couldn't. How he feels like he owes his life to his "boss", how he has no skills to do anything else. So you say things like this:
"Why won't you quit this life?"
The plaintive question was out of her mouth before she even knew she was thinking it, let alone contemplating saying it out loud.
He sighed and rested his forehead against the broom for a moment. "I tried. I can't. That's why I've been avoiding you ever since you asked about it. Because this..." He made a vague gesture indicating the two of them, "...this will only hurt you. And I don't want to hurt you."
"Too late now."
He met her eyes. "I'm sorry."
"What do you mean you tried? How? What happened?" When he didn't reply, she said querulously, "Try harder."
Again, I'm struggling to understand how this is ANY OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS. What gives you the right to demand to know why he has or hasn't done anything? And how has this hurt YOU, when you made it clear that you were disgusted and hid from him for days after he told you?
Sara is also a bit uptight sexually, and about comes unglued when her sister tells her she's gay. Ryan knows before she does (he's a bit more observant than Sara is) and her response to him is to make a rude noise and say "Well, obvious to a sex professional
, maybe, but I had no idea."
Ryan straps a set on at that point and tells her exactly what he was up to the day before -- in great detail. "I screwed one woman while her lesbian lover watched. Then I did a three-way with them." ( HAH! Point to Ryan. Take that, Sara, you bitch
.) Sara can't even respond, she has to "wait for her revulsion to subside".
After avoiding him for three days she demands, "where have you been?" when he isn't around when she decides she needs to talk to him. When he tells her he was working, she rolls her eyes and says something snide. Another day she says, "I've spent all evening waiting for you to come home." She frowned at him. "You can't keep doing that. You have to give me your cell phone number." Then she gets bitchy when he tells her his cell phone belongs to his boss.
Ryan has his pocket picked by a street kid, and tells Sara about him. She immediately takes over, researching how they could take care of him, where he could go, including contacting an outreach organization run by an ex-prostitute. When Ryan is surprised, she says, "Some people actually get out of the sex trade and do something worthwhile with their lives, Ryan."
Wow. You're all heart, lady.
She goes on to tell Ryan that she's made an appointment for him at the shelter. Ryan, again surprised ("You made an appointment
for me?") says he has to work. Uh-oh.
He could tell from her expression that it was very much the wrong thing to say. "God forbid," Sara said, "that saving Adam's life should interfere with your Wednesday afternoon trick."
She goes on to lecture him, telling him he couldn't know anything about it because places like that didn't exist when he was a street kid (which was, um, probably early 90s, so I'm betting that they DID) and how the worker took all that time out of her busy day to make the appointment,
"and do you think I'm so naive that you can't trust my judgment or do you think you could take an hour out of your busy day of well-paid sex to keep this appointment for Adam's sake?"
He lowered his head, embarassed and confused. "I'm sorry. I just..."
"Right now, you're thinking like a street boy - and like a prostitute, I guess", she said gently. "But I happen to know that when you put that attitude aside, you're an intelligent and sensible adult."
Really. And did you pat his head and offer him a cookie after that?
Is it just me???? Am I the only person who thought this woman was a complete bag, who didn't think Ryan was good enough for her unless he quit the life?
All right. At this point in the book I'm thinking I hate this woman so much I can't believe he still wants anything to do with her. And the LAST thing I want to do is read about Ryan having sex with her. Just based on her character I know an ultimatum is coming. And I freaking hate those more than anything in the world.
So I bailed at 63%.
Someone, please help me. Please tell me Sara has a split personality and this person I absolutely DETESTED disappears after they have sex and a more understanding, less self-absorbed Sara takes over? That she quits with the bitchy, derogatory remarks and becomes a more supportive friend/lover? That there is no more preaching and heavy-handed tactics to make Ryan feel even more worthless, that Ryan finds the strength to leave the life and help others ON HIS OWN, and not because some shelter worker and his girlfriend ganged up on him, or because the woman he loved gave him an ultimatum? Pretty please?
Story gets 4 stars
Heroine deducts -200 stars (setting a personal record for detesting a fictional character)