“Get me a book, will you?” I asked Steve about a week ago, as he prepared for a jaunt to the library. “I’m running out of things to read.”
So he came home with Tomato Girl. “It looked like something you’d read,” he said by way of explanation. Actually, it didn’t really, but that’s fine. No complaints on my end. Sometimes one gets in a reading rut; sometimes one needs something a little more unsettling.
Which is what Publisher’s Weekly says about it on the back cover, saying that it’s an accomplished debut. And the author bio says she’s published in literary journals and has written a book of poetry.
The reason that I’m telling you all this is because I want you to know that I was absolutely fair. I was prepared to like this novel. I opened its covers with a completely open mind. And sadly, nothing prepared me for its sheer, unutterable terribleness. It was beyond bad. And the really sad thing was that it wasn’t like trashy novel bad, which is just bad writing plain and simple and you harrumph about the crap that gets published these days, but it was a mass market paperback so who really cares? No, it was more like college fiction workshop bad, where everyone thinks they are saying profound new things in beautiful new ways, but it would be more enojoyable to hear a tortured cat scream for three hours straight. (If you’re wondering where that piece of randomness came from, chalk it up to the feral cats on the prowl last night.)
*Update: I feel a little guilty for posting that review, so I feel the need to mention that she has samples of her poetry on her site; they are MUCH better than this novel.