I was actually excited to start reading That Book. She Who Must Be Worshiped (hereafter, "Shehoo") ramps up the yummy factor from page 1. Pick your favorite edible indulgence: dessert, high-fat snacks, whatever; it's a good proxy for the num-nums Shehoo provides. You know it's bad for you, but you can't resist.
Then the regret sets in. You start to notice the little things: infelicitous word choices, implausible characterization, improbable plot devices, etc. But it's still yummy, right? You eat some more. Eventually you get a tummy-ache, and you start to curse the soulless businessmen who published That Book solely because it will make them a lot of money. How dare they! Why didn't anyone hold Shehoo's feet to the fire and force her to clean up some of her trans fat-laden prose?
Oh, we've all been there. Even if you're maintaining your plausible deniability by insisting you don't know which book I'm writing about, there's a book in your head that fits this description.
Well, here's a fun trick to try next time you're fighting indigestion reading That Book or one of its ilk. Imagine the protagonists as teenagers.
I can't tell you how much happier I've been since I saw this about That Book's characters. It makes me despise Shehoo even more -- why couldn't she have written Twi-Even-Lighter (i.e., a book whose characters are supposed to be acting like teenage twits) and spared us this drivel masquerading as a romance novel? -- but at least it provides a context for her writing. It's Grease without the singing or talent. It's the new version of Beverly Hills 90210. It's adolescence.
It explains so much.
But I'm still feeling queasy.