Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Getting Rooted in New Zealand by Jamie Baywood

Copy provided by the author

Susana's review:

First of all, I probably should mention that this is the first book of the genre I've ever read.

It feels kind of strange talking about a real person's life and feelings instead of a fictional character's... I feel kind of like a voyeur... or a really lousy shrink.

Okay, so... Jamie _our main character _ feels stuck in her life: she has a non challenging job, and a long list of creeps haunting her love life (this was really scary... if I were her I would have probably be carrying a taser - that, or I would have become a nun!).
So, she decides to take a risk and move to New Zealand. The fact that there's a low rate of men available to women helped Jamie in the decision. Since, apparently she's sick and tired of useless men.

The story is told in a kind of diary sort of way... it helps keep it unpretentious and of easy reading.

Then it's impossible not to laugh at the most of the stories the author tells us. She really doesn't keep things to herself.
And that's where most of the problems start:
Because the author doesn't take into consideration the politically incorrect side of some comments..
She probably  wanted to remain as true as possible to events that took place... but "talking about" isn't the same thing as having it printed on paper (your memory forgets or misunderstands... and isn't prone to analysis). As it is, if one starts thinking too much about certain aspects, a book that could get a four or three star rating, ends up with a two.

For instance, in the beginning of the story, the author makes it perfectly clear how she is different from her friends: she has no patience for her friends wedding details (okay, I wouldn't have, either), and she would never want something like that for herself (the complicated ceremonies not the marriage part). But it turns out, that when push comes to shove, we get treated with a lot, and I mean a lot of comments about her future wedding.

Then, (SPOILER!) getting the brides drunk so you won't have to be an actual friend and listen to them, isn't something one probably should confess... that is, if you want to come out as a likeable character.

The constant "I'm from arts, I deserve more than this..." feel of the thing, also got to be a bit too much.
Truth is, most of us deserve more than what we get.

Also, someone who claims to be a Buddhist should have more consideration for other people's feelings. Instead, there were a lot of moments where the main character took pride in hurting other people's sentiments.
I understand that the job she had was something straight from hell. That she was hurting and couldn't seem to fit in... but I couldn't help feeling that the author didn't try to fit in. She went to New Zealand with some preconceived ideas and instead got surprised with reality.

Look I was hoping more than the: I left the states because I was tired of dating creeps. I wanted to see a change in her, maybe see her understand that she didn't needed a guy to be happy or fulfilled.... I'm not trying to give a radical feminist speech here, but I wanted more than what I got. Look if she changed countries to get a better job, I would totally applaud her actions! But she was stuck in a horrible, horrible professional situation in New Zealand!
(Okay, i admit: If i were her, i would probably return screaming back to my country! )

But after being in New Zealand for a while she starts freaking out that she probably will never have sex....
So what is it?
To take a break from guys, or to find a new sea with new fish? Hopefully better fish... because the californian fish were... ugh.

So after a while, Jamie does find her prince charming... who is very handsome... and very beautiful... and very perfect... and we get this... for many, many pages.

Once again: a thing doesn't need to be repeated over and over to get into the reader's head. (Yes, some of us have thick heads, but enough is enough).

Especially comments of romantic nature, that start sounding like things removed from a fifteen year old girl diary.

I'm not trying to be mean, I don't get a kick out of hurting other people's feelings, but I really think that this could be done a different way. It will probably mean giving up on this form of journal in which the book is written. Which could be a good thing.

Bottom line: It started out funny, the author has a fresh voice... but I wanted to see the real "Jamie" who doesn't always have a snarky comment on the tip of her tongue. 
Oh, and the title?
Yes, THAT was a surprise!
In fact, i think that this story could appeal to Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, pray and love" readers.

Isa's Review:

I must confess, I was reluctant to read this, I always am reluctant to read anything about someone described as "quirky". It brings to mind the whole manic pixie girl thing, which is just... not for me.

But as it started, I was pleasantly surprised, I really laughed aloud at several situations that happened to the author. The thing is, there are things I just don't find funny, like rape jokes, or using bipolar as an adjective ("bipolar hair"), or ableist jokes, or implying that being a lesbian is the closest thing to being a boy. So this is a very hard book to rate for me, because every time I started liking and sympathising with Jamie, she would say or do something that would leave me completely appalled. So this book would go from 4 stars to 2 stars and 4 again, and so on.

It takes a lot of guts to just leave everything behind and face all of those horrible jobs and bosses, so I'm cutting her some slack, but if you say a joke and you're the only one laughing because everyone else is offended, you've done something wrong and you should acknowledge it and learn not to repeat it, not wink wink nudge the reader, like, "they don't get it, but you will, right?" No. I get it. It was just insensitive and offensive.

So bottom line, it is amusing at times, and my hat's off to her for having the fortitude to withstand all that - but political correctness exists for a reason and if you ignore it for a laugh, you're not being edgy and going against the norm, you're just enforcing pernicious attitudes and you need to check your privilege.

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