Sunday, 27 July 2014

Apart at The Seams by Melissa Ford






Arc provided by Belle Books through Netgalley

This is the first book that I have read by this author, so I had absolutely no idea of what to expect writing wise.
Honestly, I just wanted an engaging contemporary romance to read, while I chose my next fantasy book.

I'll come out and say it, _since this affects great part of the story_ but I almost DNF this one.
The beginning was troublesome, the middle was long...ish, so the only thing that redeemed it was basically the final part.

How it starts:
Normally we have some sort of "info dump" regarding the characters on the beginning of the stories. Why they behave like this, and that, something to which a reader can hold on to, while we're trying to get into a story.
(...)
Not this one.
There were things about Arianna that I only found out almost at the end of the story!
For instance I thought she was quite younger than she actually was! Therefore I could not understand why someone in their twenties would have undergone fertility treatments... not that there was an appropriate age, or anything, but it just didn't resonate with the character I was seeing!

It also became a little difficult to like a character who all the sudden starts behaving like an brainless teenager with a crush. Even weirder is the fact that about the only thing I felt sure of was of the fact that Arianna was someone with both feet solidly on the ground.
 Because of that, her reactions to a complete stranger (given to us at the story's very beginning), with her being a responsible grown woman, and one committed into a relationship, were just nose twitching...
 In fact I almost gave up on it on the spot because I was afraid this was going to turn out into some cheaters' story.

Long, long unnecessary descriptions.
The story was already dragging by then, my patience was already running thin, because this is basically one of the more realistic contemporary novels I've ever read, and I was being treated to a lot of unnecessary info.

For instance, I don't need to know every single detail of what Arianna was cleaning in the kitchen!
The boyfriend is a slob, just say it! And instead of her behaving so passive aggressive, here's an idea... why not speak to him and confront him about his slobber..ish ways??
It's not as if the guy is a sociopath!
Okay... I am aware that this is how most people deal with these types of things. The thing is that I on one hand, don't want to read about the "thorough integration process" that a couple goes through when they decide to live together.
For me this just became boring to read.

Also, her dialogues, strike that, her talks with her BFF often involved an array of awkward moments, that just felt too strange to read! For instance, there's this "scene" in which her best friend knocks on her door, tells her that she's engaged, and you keep waiting for Arianna to react! But no, only after a few pages does she speak... a whole sentence of it! o_O

I was like: Say, something! She's your best friend, make some sort of eye contact, whatever... but no, she immediately picked up that story thread and turned it to herself!
Something along the lines of: Oh, my God, she's going to remarry? But now, Ethan is going to be even more insistent with the whole marriage thing!
Hmm, egocentric much?

With things such as these I feel as if the author forgot all about this story's pace.

Another not very well played plot, is the" boyfriend moving in thread", and having awkward conversations about marriage and kids. Didn't these two talk before they decided to live together?
Especially since she is a single mother! And supposedly they've known each other for ages now!
But no, it seems as if they never properly addressed the subject, before deciding to move in together.
%&//((!!!

The single mother aspect:
I have no idea why it was used. We aren't given any kind of background information on why Arianna decided to choose fertility treatments (okay besides the obvious fertility issues!) ...is she so keen on having her own family?
Because (at the beginning) it doesn't look like it.
 Instead it seems as if the kid is just a story accessory (in the beginning). Ready to be used to fill in some phrases, while the kid does what kids his age normally do.
I guess this was meant to give more depth to the character... see, this is what single mothers go through.
But, the thing is _for me - Arianna started out as such a cardboard character, that I couldn't got why she wanted a child.
Later on this does get better, and finally we are able to see Arianna's more emotional side.
It's a pity that it took it so long.

But the worst of it all is that most of the story is given to us through this boring monologue that goes on, and on, in Arianna's mind!
And she is a boring, dull, passive aggressive, at times selfish and egocentric person!
She treats her friends like crap and she's always whining about something.
Okay, her friends aren't much better... but we _mostly _ don't see the friends whining about her, but we're constantly hearing her complaining about something!
Something that each of us would probably do, if we were in her shoes, BUT, after a while too much whining... becomes a whine feast?
Why would I want to read about her?
For instance her situation with the boyfriend... after a while she describes the relationship as akin to having another kid!
I don't get this: she was used to living alone with a toddler, and she has a demanding career, do you want to tell me that, prior to the guy moving in into her house, he never spent a couple of days there?
Why didn't domestic chores ever get discussed between them?
Hey, here's an idea: There are couple who discuss this... others just get a divorce!

Look I couldn't be more feminist than what I already am! So finding myself in this position defending a guy who basically doesn't do anything around the house, is weird to say the least!
But I can't help feeling that Arianna, in this situation, has a big part of the responsibility!

She hints... that help would be appreciated... hints, for crying out loud!
Where have hints ever worked with guys???
They don't take hints!
Just tell him: I am not your F*****G  MOTHER, and I will not up clean after you!

 Also, once again, I can't help thinking that in this situation of an almost love triangle (I mean in adult contemporary this term isn't used right?) the author is trying to force the readers into liking the outsider...
Oh, her boyfriend is a good guy, but he doesn't grow up... as she would have liked.
The other guy is a great guy, and he had cancer, and you can see that he likes her... and did I mention that he had cancer, poor guy?
Enough.

So how does this end up with a 3 star rating?
As you can see, I didn't have all that much fun while I was reading this.
 I didn't like the way it started, and in the middle I just felt that it dragged on and on, without anything of particular relevance happening. But, towards the end, I really felt that the author nailed it!
Why?
Because towards the end Arianna's cardboard character finally disintegrates, and I finally saw a real life person there. I liked her through her errors, and mistakes, because she finally lets us see her in her vulnerabilities!
I liked how she makes a mess out of things, but I also saw why she is the way she is!
“You lived through it, Ari. Because that’s what we do. We live through things. "
Oh, and I loved this!
"Maybe you’re more my little cat than you are an island; when you want a cuddle, you crawl in my lap. But then there are times when you need to be left alone to do your Arianna-thing. And I’m not very good at leaving you alone. Maybe I’m a little dog, slobbering all over you, wanting more than a cat can give. But I know you. I get you.”
To finish this up I'll just say that I really liked the story's last part, so if you like contemporary novels, do come share your opinions of it. I would really like to know what you people think of it.


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