Punk's Reviews > Maybe This Time

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie
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it was ok
bookshelves: romance

Trigger warning for discussion of rape.

Romance. Andie Miller's ex-husband is desperate; his two young wards refuse to leave their giant English manor, and all the nannies he's sent to take care of them keep leaving, or dying. Andie agrees to look after the kids for a month, packs up her car, says goodbye to her almost fiancé, and moves to southern Ohio.

This has a lot in common with The Turn of the Screw: creepy house (complete with creepy pond), creepy orphans, creepy nannies. Except this makes sense.

The good: The old ghosts are satisfyingly creepy. The atmosphere is great. I liked Andie, her relationship with the kids, and I loved the haunted couch.

The meh: North is underdeveloped. Andie wanted him, but I never felt it.

The bad: It's Not Rape If She's Slutty. Late in the book Crusie really fucks up when she introduces non-consensual sexual activity and then blames the victim by having the characters explicitly reject the idea that it's rape:
"It's not rape," Andie snapped. "Because May says you would have slept with all of them anyway. And since you were already doing two of them, I think she's right." She looked into the camera. "That's right, Columbus, your reporter here nailed three guys in one night, sixty percent of the adult male population of this house. Let's give the little lady a hand."
I suspect Crusie wanted the drama but didn't want to deal with the consequences, which among other things would have made us feel sympathy for an unsympathetic character. So not only is Crusie pretending it's not rape, she's using rape as punishment.

Without the rape apology this would have gotten three stars, with it -- it gets knocked down to two. It's a better ghost story than a romance.
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Reading Progress

June 2, 2010 – Shelved
June 2, 2010 – Shelved as: romance
October 19, 2010 – Started Reading
October 19, 2010 –
page 1
0.29% "What a unique title for a romance novel. /sarcasm"
October 20, 2010 –
page 14
4.09% "North just put his glasses back on without ever having taken them off."
October 23, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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Valerie I'm glad I'm not the only one who's taken aback by some of the plot devices she inflicts casually on minor characters. Odd, to say the least.


message 2: by Punk (last edited Oct 25, 2010 01:43PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Punk I was shocked. She torments (and kills) her minor characters regularly, but Kelly -- and the men she slept with -- were raped and Crusie just handwaves the whole thing. Come to think of it, something very similar happened in Wild Ride with the demon possessions. This is not a good trend.


Valerie I stopped reading her stuff for a while...now I remember why.


message 4: by Mir (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mir
This has a lot in common with The Turn of the Screw: creepy house (complete with creepy pond), creepy orphans, creepy nannies. Except this makes sense.


Crusie said that was her inspiration.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* I didn't think about it as rape at all - I was more focused on the possession part...which I felt was more horrifying than the sex. I can see what you mean, however.


Punk MrsJoseph wrote: "I didn't think about it as rape at all - I was more focused on the possession part...which I felt was more horrifying than the sex. I can see what you mean, however."

Because of the possession, neither Kelly nor the three men who believed they were having sex with Kelly could give consent. That is rape.


message 7: by Mir (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mir She does the same squicky possession/rape thing in Wild Ride. Yuck.


Punk Miriam wrote: "She does the same squicky possession/rape thing in Wild Ride. Yuck."

She did. It's getting to be an unpleasant trend with her. :(


message 9: by Mir (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mir I wish she would stop trying to do paranormal stuff, I haven't liked any of those.


Brownbetty I just finished reading this, and my opinion was basically "good, except for the rape!" and then I see your review.


message 11: by Punk (new) - rated it 2 stars

Punk Crusie's apparently getting bored with consensual sex.


message 12: by Jack (new) - rated it 1 star

Jack Vasen I am so glad you bring this up. I am sorry to say that this didn't stick with me when I read it. You are so right. I might have passed over it because Kelly's possession wasn't described first hand. I was also troubled with later possessions that were described first hand. The last one, where Andie was starting to worry she would never get her body back and had to watch the totally intimate things that were going on, really troubled me.


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