Akita's (as in the Japanese Prefecture, not the dog) virtual book club discussion

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Chick-lit > This Charming Man

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message 1: by MMG (new)

MMG | 106 comments Definitely not light, definitely not fluffy!! omg this book was so depressing. Marnie made me want to shoot myself. I had absolutely no sympathy for her! I mean whats his name should have died a gruesome death, but she was friggin annoying! And really Grace wasn't much better. I just could not believe that Paddy was so magnetic that all these women would be so drawn to him despite all the awful things he did to them.

The cover of this book is green and pink!! The only awww romantic moment was when Lola got together with her crossdressing neighbor!!!wtf!? I guess what I disliked the most was how unexpected it was. I wanted a cute-sy chicklit-y read, and this simply did not fulfill the need.

I really hated the way Lola talked. Is it really that difficult to throw in an article or pronoun every now and then. But after the book switched to Marnie and Grace I really missed Lola. At least her character did interesting, fun things like getting it on with a hot surfer or holding trannie nights! Grace was boring, so boring and Marnie was annoying, so annoying! The only one I respected was Dee Rossini.

I know it happens all the time, but I just can't imagine how anyone could stay with a guy who beats and rapes them. It wasn't even that he smacked them around a bit, he BEAT and RAPED them!! Where do these guys get that kind of power?? And Lola made him sound so hairy and gross, ugh!

Quotes: "Can't abide high stools, so uncomfortable. Too high, to begin with, and nothing to hold on to, nothing to support your back, nothing for your feet. You are quite adrift." (pg. 43) I like the quite adrift part.

and then there was one that was something about hot monkey snogging...but I cant find it.


message 2: by Alison (last edited Mar 10, 2010 11:27AM) (new)

Alison | 103 comments Mod
***forgot to add SPOILER ALERT***

Well I hafta say I think Mara, your review was right on the money. I completely agree with the overall depressed feeling I got from the book. Although while it was a depressing read , I say it didn't actually make me depressed, it made me frustrated and quite frankly it made me feel better about my love life situation, like at least I didn't have this charming man beating the crap out of me.

I can't decide if I feel like this is at all feasible. I mean it isn't like these women were stupid, low self-esteem for sure. But like that mountaineer woman, she sounded like she had been a strong, intelligent woman. I don't know how he got away with this behavior for so long. Especially in politics where your dirty laundry is always hung out to dry, I don't think this would EVER happen, thank goodness.

My book didn't have a green and pink cover, old library copy with no dust cover, so my book was just gray, which I think was extremely appropriate.

So hmmmmm let the hating begin. 1) Agree with Mara no sympathy for Marnee, whiny little self-loathing bitch. Suck it up! She has two kids and a husband who adores her, and she's still pining over a high school romance, bull shit. She was one big pity party. Oh Grace got strength, I'm the poor emotionally stunted runt. Shut the fuck up! Omg and what was up with that whole letter mailing incident? The letter was too heavy she couldn't move because it was so important. I was extremely exasperated when I read that part. Give me her fucking job! I can mail envelopes and stamp them... something which she could not. 2) Once again in agreement with Mara, the way Lola talked was really annoying. It was like everyone around her spoke in fragments and of course herself included. I suppose maybe she just writes the important stuff as it's supposed to come off as diary entries. 3) Grace, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Grace, I mean she was one of the better ones but not that great. I wondered why it took so long for her to admit what happened and of course ere she is salivating over an old workmate and sister's ex-beau while from the description yummy, tasty Damien was waiting for her at home. I mean Damien sounded awesome, she told him to stop seeing Juno and bam! he stops. 4) Alicia, now Alicia a.k.a. leechy I hate because she's a back stabber and so disloyal, but at the same time I do feel bad that she's going to be face with beat downs for the rest of her life. 5) Liked Dee, because her man betrayed her, and while super hot she had too much self-respect to put up with it.

Now see, normally the end of this sort of chick-lit can be it's saving grace, because if the book is properly wrapped up I'll like it. But all Paddy got was expelled from the NewIreland party, ultimately he'd still be able to go on with his political career with the Nappies. But no really reveal of how he treats women?? That's bull shit. I mean sure, Dee alludes that Paddy was up to no good, but that's it? I want real restitution, real payback, and right quick. He needs to date a female boxer who beats the shit out of him, something anything, a huge expose of his shitty shitty ways. Sigh I was left very dissatisfied. I mean sure it all turned out ok for all the women from the sound of it. But that Selma chick, she still lost her career as a sportswoman and she was one who actually tried to warn Zara and stuff. Where's her just desserts?

I hafta say this Marian Keyes' book is right down there with 'Is Anybody Out There?' It's definitely no 'Last Chance Saloon.' I'm deciding between one and two stars. I'm leaning towards one star.

my quotes:

"When got back to hotel, mates demanded know where he'd been. He had to lie and say he had gone with prostitute. Mates scandalized." - pg. 273

First of all this is an example of the annoying prose put forth by Lola, learn to speak English properly dammit. Secondly, this was just funny to me, I was like, wow you'd rather let them think you got a prostitute rather than admit to being a cross-dresser. I mean I get that it's not really accepted, I remember one of Greg's good friend's dad got caught cross-dressing... he was a doctor and in this small conservative town of Tulare, it really hurt his practice. Not to say it ruined his practiced, but I know my parents were extremely disapproving.

"'No.' Sudden defiance. 'Trannies inside. Nervous dispositions. Need to protect their identities.'
'Look.' Sudden drop in decibel of voice. 'Would like to join in.'" - pg. 433

I read that part on the bus and seriously I burst out laughing and got a bit stared at. But it was all so ridiculous, I had to laugh. I love that they all found the secret cross-dressing society.

That's it for my quotes. It's been decided. One star from Alison!

BTW, question for all of yous. How would you feel about dating a guy and discovering he was a cross-dresser. I personally don't think I'd care, unless he was a better looking woman than I... then I'd care!


message 3: by MMG (new)

MMG | 106 comments hmmmm I don't know how I'd feel. I guess it would depend on the guy...he'd definitely have to be manly when he was a man, I don't like girly guys. And I actually think he'd have to be a really nice looking girl too, just cuz seeing men dressed in womens clothes and makeup makes me uncomfortable if theyre ugle....man hands...ewwww! so really he'd have to be exactly like whatshisname/chloe!


message 4: by Alison (new)

Alison | 103 comments Mod
See there's where we disagree, if we go to a bar and all the guys are checking my man out, I'd be pissed... like "Bitch, stop it!" But if he looked trannie-like and was just silly sounding the way Noel was I think I'd take it better. Of course on the otherside if he looks super trannie then I may be mistaken for a trannie as well... hmmm pros and cons. I wonder now if maybe that's why Gillian and Rossa didn't work out as well together. First because he was waaaay more attractive and then because she wasn't actually part of his other life.


message 5: by MMG (new)

MMG | 106 comments out of curiosity I perused the other reviews of this book and I cant believe how many people loved it!!


message 6: by Brittany (new)

Brittany (bmholman) | 107 comments Table of contents:
1) The review I put on goodreads.
2) Quotes I liked.
3) Responses to above posts. ;-P

1) 3 stars

WOW. That really sums up this book, because it is not your typical read-by-the-pool fluffy chick-lit. It's real, it's raw, it's harsh, it's deep. We have a group of women who all have one thing in common; having had relations with a big powerhouse politician who can charm the pants off of anyone with boobs, and then getting hit by him. And not only simply hit, but beaten to unconsciousness in some cases, and branded by a lit cigarette. Then Keyes throws in a bought of alcoholism. Of course Keyes had to write about relationships to make it semi-pleasurable, so it's not all dark. But my problem is this plot line could have set up a power shift onto the women and thus sending a great message, and it did, a bit, but not enough for my taste. I'm sure Keyes did the best she could, but that's why it wasn't a great book.

Plus some of the characters and the situations were just so annoying. I could not stand Lola's broken English. Keyes wrote Lola's point of view threw diary entries, and so it being casual she often left out words, but it just annoyed the hell outta me. Keyes' Word document must have been covered in green lines from the grammar corrector. Marnie was pathetic, which was frustrating. And it was even more frustrating to read about Grace trying to help her and getting no where. I can't imagine having an alcoholic family member or friend that refused to help themselves.

Speaking of all the characters, the jumping back and forth was confusing, at least in the beginning. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and who did what in the beginning. But I can see the need and purpose of it for the book.

I do have to say that I had a hard time stopping my reading for the night. Within each chapter everything flowed so well (except Lola's). I definitely want to read more of Marian Keyes' books, maybe ones a little less intense.

2) Pg 206 "Countryside we drove through all wild and...yes, wild. To our left, frenzied Atlantic bashed living daylights out of coast; to our right, barren fields coughed up rocks and the occasional stunted tree." Just very colorful...

Pg 221 "Felt teeniest wobble at his bouffy hair, then skewered by his blue, blue eyes like human kebab and was lost." Also colorful.

Pg 233 "'What is life but fleeting moments of happiness strung together on necklace of despair?'" Oh, so true. *Sigh*

Pg 343 "Reaching deep into self, rummaging around in drawer containing rarely used emotions, and locating and dusting off self-respect." I just love this quote, so well done.

Pg "I swallowed, so loud we both heard it, and my Adam's apple leaped up and down like a piston." Ok, I hate this quote actually because women don't have Adam's apples!! Hello, how could you fuck that up?

3) Mara, you summed it all up quite well. Especially the whole cover being colorful. And on the back cover on mine there was praise for Marian Keyes books in general, but the first one said "Looking for a witty beach read that'll make you pine for a good man..." blah blah blah, and I was like, Not this one! Not a good beach read, no!

Lola was my favorite too, except her horrible grammar. Elaine, is that how Irish people talk? Loved all the hooking up she did. I really loved her attitude toward Jake, like he was just a toy. And obvi he didn't like it. Haha!

I Like the quote about the stool too, because I hate sitting on stools. I'd rather stand.

Alison, love your hating. It's all so true, and I so agree. And I totally agree with the pathetic punishment Paddy got in the end, but I like how she did it. But I expected more. Like I said above this book sets up a great woman power ending, but it was pretty weak.

To question your question Alison, I'm not sure, it would totally depend on the guy, and how involved he got in it. Those men were spending a lot of money on the special clothes and makeup and underwear, so if he was bringing in a lot of dough from his job and I got to spend the same amount on my clothes, makeup, and underwear and we were still ok with finances then maybe I'd say what the hell, if it made him happy. But I think I might be a little weirded out by it. But if he went cave diving on his days off I think I might be able to stand it, and yeah, I'd want him to do a good job with it, like Chloe. And I don't think I'd want the same guys who were staring at him at the bar if they think he's hotter than me, so no bones there.


message 7: by MMG (new)

MMG | 106 comments I'm so glad you guys hated Lola's writing too, when I first started reading I thought that maybe her way of talking was the Irish equivalent to valley-girl speech. And I thought I got used to it but when it switched to Grace for the first time it was like a breath of fresh air! and then she was boring and I wanted Lola back. What I found a little disorienting was the little excerpts at the beginning of Paddy doing some awful thing to one of them because the excerpt wasnt followed by a chapter about the same woman in the excerpt....I dont know why but that really really really bothered me.


message 8: by Brittany (new)

Brittany (bmholman) | 107 comments Do you think that the way Lola talked was so annoying to us because we were English teachers so we are extra sensitive to that thing? Mara, did any other reviewers find that annoying as well?
That didn't bother me as much because no one really talked about it till the end when things were coming out about all that he did and it all made sense at that point.


message 9: by MMG (new)

MMG | 106 comments NO! nobody mentioned it, at least not in the first half of their review I didnt bother to read anyones further than that. And I changed from two stars to one after reading some of those reviews, they made me dislike it even more. One girl did mention how wrong the reviews on the back of the book were (calling it a beach-read, etc), which made me laugh, but she still gave it five stars.


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