Re-reading an Old Favorite (...and Why I Wished I Hadn't)

I first read Hot Ice by Nora Roberts when I was 14. I found a well-worn mass market paperback copy of it in my high school library. I picked it up because it had a pink cover with a high heel on it. It was my first ever Nora Roberts novel. It was my first ever romance novel, for that matter. A gateway drug. I was so obsessed with it, that when I was finished with it, I read it three more times back to back. I haven't read it again since, and it's held a very fond and important place in my heart and on my bookshelf. 

I was thinking about it recently, how I loved it and wanted that rush of being obsessed with a book again. So, I dared to tempt fate and tried re-reading it again--and immediately wished I hadn't. I could tell after only 5 pages that this was just not going to hold up. Even in 2002, this book was dated by about 15 years. It screams '80s, and the cheesiness that once had me swooning as a teen dipping a toe into the romance genre, now had me rolling my eyes and cringing. 

I stopped reading at 25 pages in, trying to subvert my disillusionment. Why oh why did I taint my adoration of this book? I've had it on a pedestal for 15 years! 

Hard lesson that I already knew after re-reading Twilight but was hoping would not be the case here: Tastes change. People mature. The way books are written evolve. Maybe, one sweet day in the future, I will find another unicorn of a book that will be so good that it demands to be read several times in a row. And when I do, I won't dare try reading it again decades later, and I will simply savor the delicious memory of it instead.

Book Review Rant: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Author: Jojo Moyes
Pub Date: December 31st, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Format: Audio CD
ISBN: 978-1-6117-6235-8

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?


SPOILERS! Fair warning...

This review is not even delving into the ableism that this book is criticized for, which you can read about herehere, and here. This is focused solely on the poor quality of writing.

Taken from my gut-reaction Goodreads review:

Wow, an unexpectedly bad read. I feel lied to; I thought I was getting a tear-jerking romance. Instead I got a total snoozefest.

One of the biggest problems is that the pacing is so off. Anytime anything remotely interesting starts to happen, you get a shift into another character's negligible point of view--for a single chapter, barely any impact--and anything potentially good gets totally glossed over. The night they spent together at the hotel, the highly-anticipated vacation, then Dignitas.

Also, I read this as an audiobook that I thought was a full cast reading. But aside from the Luisa's voice actor, the other actors only got one chapter each throughout, which I find odd and disappointing.

In summation: lazy writing mostly about a boring main character who I barely cared about at the end.

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