Friday, August 17, 2018

Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid

2 Stars

Before I even begin, let me say that when it comes to a new Penny Reid release, my reaction has been and most likely will always be . . . .

I adore her stuff. It’s funny, it’s sexy, the dudes are fantasy bangbots and the women aren’t, but instead are successful, independent and diverse. She writes ‘em skinny, she writes ‘em heavy, famous worldwide and famous only thanks to a certain banana cake – she’s even written a female lead on the spectrum. All that being said, it really didn’t surprise me much that Reid chose to write about a mixed-race couple this time around. What did surprise me?????

What a freakin’ snoozefest!

And aside from the fact that it was dull as crap, I’m not going to pussyfoot around the other issues I had with it so if you’re easy to take offense, it’s probably time to get scootin’.

I realize that I’m not a person who needs a “sensitivity reader” to go through a story before I take a gander at it, but I also understand others are and certain authors are willing to oblige in order to not offend their fanbase. That being said, if you’re going to water down potentially awesome characters (seriously, she’s undercover FBI – he’s supposedly a veterinarian, but since he was never even in the G.D. town he lived in there wasn’t a lot of puppy kisses going around) into this bowl of milk toast then I’d prefer it just to never happen. Also? You know what makes the ethnically diverse bestseller movement so great? Not so much that the characters are diverse, but that the AUTHORS are as well.

This was supposed to be a fluffy romance. I’m pretty sure most readers of smut just want to sit around in PJ pants and get our sploosh on while visions of nekkid Jason Mamoa dance through our heads. If I want to read well-written fictional takes on current social issues I’ll seek out Jason Reynolds or Angie Thomas, thank you very much.

I’m going to give you a specific example here of how this went off the rails for me (again, because I picked up a ROMANCE book, not something deep) – if you don’t agree with my take so be it, this is MY space for MY opinion and Imma give it.

So the leading lady gets pulled over by a blatantly racist cop for driving while black. She pulls into Roscoe’s (splooshy bearded bro this go ‘round) sister’s driveway – sister comes out and schools the disgusting manbearpig on being a vile human. Simone (female lead) then proceeds to dress down the sister for speaking on her behalf and taking away her opportunity to be her own voice, etc. etc. DON’T START CLUTCHING YOUR PEARLS. Stay with me here because I get the point that was trying to be made. The problem I have is then the sister tells the entire family about what happened and so the next time (because OF COURSE THERE’S A NEXT TIME with this uggo cop) it is Roscoe there and he gently nudges Simone until she realizes he’s going to let her do the talking. Thanks for sticking with me, I’m almost at my point. Okay, so WHY DIDN’T THAT SECOND SCENARIO HAPPEN FIRST???? It would have been sooooooo much more effective (because remember, this is a “one that got away” trope so these two have been kismet since they were tiny little children and also he remembers errrrrythang (which I’ll get to here in a second maybe) so he should know how she would want to react/want him to react) if Simone had explained to everyone how much it meant to be her own voice AFTER she got to be her own voice. Instead it came off all preachy and awful because if this person TRULY thought they were going to potentially be shot would they really get on a soapbox instead of just saying “thanks for making sure I’m not dead” and then deal with the P.C. shit later???

Which leads me to my other problem – that just so happens to be the exact opposite of the above – NOT ADDRESSING THINGS AT ALL. First, Roscoe has an eidetic memory and while the presentation of such is about as subtle as a skunk in your bed, it’s not confirmed until nearly the end. Why? For suspense??? If so, MAJOR FAIL because dead horse was dead like 17% into the mah fah. And second, comments are made throughout the book about Simone not seeing how beautiful she is. I was DYING for an “a-ha moment” when it was disclosed that . . . .

Seriously. I would have loved for Simone to be a dark-skinned girl. Just like I’d love for a “plus size” girl to be larger than a fucking size 12. But it never happened. So was Simone darker skinned? Did she just have low self esteem? Was her face all scarred up from a knife fight? WTF?!?!?!?! Did she really and truly just not care because she was so badass????? I need answers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Okay not really, but it would have been nice to have an answer.)

It sucks that this missed the mark so hard for me. But again, don’t get it twisted because I’m already in line for the book we’ve all been waiting for – BILLY’s . . . .

“I mean, ladies. Holy cow. Get thee a Winston, stat!”

^For serious. Doooooooooooooooooo it.


Who else has only been able to picture Krieger ever since the title of this book was released???

Just me?

1 comment:

  1. Agree ! I just don’t think she did any research about black women or how to frame these issues. And there was so much rambling I couldn’t figure out what the main storyline was.