Bitchin' Blog Posts
Title: The Future Scrolls
Author: Fern Michaels
Publication Info: Zebra 2003
Genre: Contemporary Romance
So bad, it will induce you to commit violence against your ancestors.
I am going to write this review based on the ten or so pages I read. I didn’t buy it. I didn’t even take it out of the library. I made no effort to choose this book. It was on the shelf in the bathroom of the rental house in St. John, and I figured I’d give it a shot.
I didn’t bother to meet the hero. I am not even sure about the origin and meaning of the scrolls referred to in the title. But the heroine? And the precociously annoying little girl?
It’s a new Smart Bitch category, I think: “Slap-Your-Grandma’s-Grandma Bad.”
I can tell you this much, and urge you to avoid this book:
Dani, the heroine, is an asshole. She gets dumped, starts off the story by moaning about her bad luck with men, and does nothing to make herself likeable, or even tolerable.
Somehow she ends up smoking a cigarette in front of the UN at night, and sees a little girl alone on a bench with a suitcase and no adult near her. Dani has the bright idea of charming the little girl into coming home with her, so she coaxes said youngster into a cab, and takes the kid back to her apartment. Yeah, that’s not creepy, or a massive display of questionable judgment.
Once in the apartment, she makes the kid some soup and eggs, and convinces the little girl to divulge her name. The girl, Maria, speaks in a clearly “English is my second language” manner, using phrases like, “how you say,” and never once using a contraction, so her sentences are stilted and formal. Maria is not from the US. And I have a lump the size of Texas from the subtle frying pan used to communicate that character’s foreign-ness.
If Candy lived in this book’s world, she’d mispronounce her “r’s” and refer to herself as “me” instead of “I” and she’d probably put pee-pee in your Coke at every opportunity so as not to miss a single cliche of being from another country.
But what got me really steamed was the little girl’s earnest request to repay Dani for her kindness after the girl revealed she was from Argentina, and no one arrived to meet her at the airport. Dani makes some comment about how she requires no payment and probably has a few “pesos” in the apartment to use in caring for this girl she ostensibly kidnapped. So not only is she a complete moron, but she’s a xenophobic buttmonkey as well? Oh, I cannot wait to immerse myself in her adventure and identify with her spunky attitude at every turn!
Right after the pesos comment, I shut the book and shoved it behind all the other books on the borrowing shelf in the bathroom of our rented house, so no one would be afflicted with the horror that was this novel.
Out of curiosity, I checked out the Amazon reviews as well. In a word, OUCH. The other readers, they also want to slap their grandma’s grandma.
From the Publisher’s Weekly review:
The bad guys could be Cagney co-stars; Maria is a modern-day Shirley Temple, dispensing advice on politics, smoking and love; and Alex is melodramatic in a Fernando Lamas sort of way. As for Dani, she’s the kind of bravely foolish heroine of yesteryear who insists on going off half-cocked and alone, yet she stops for a cigarette when she stumbles over a corpse in the enemy’s lair. Everything about the novel, including the paint-by-numbers cover, is so anachronistically cliched, it’s practically high camp.
And some reader comments:
“My nine year old could write a more coherent story!”
“I would have to agree with the earlier reviewer that said that her book is now in the trash, because that is where mine is headed. I usually resale my mediocre books to Half Price Books, but I wouldn’t want to torture another unsuspecting reader with this book.”
“Improbable plot, stilted dialogue, characters who act out erratically and stupidly…. Wish I could give it negative stars.”
There you have it: This book needs Negative Stars. Sounds like a black hole for books, where things you wish you’d never even read could be sucked into some endless void so powerful the memory of the pages you looked at would be stripped from your brain.
Ah, the astrophysics of romance. And in this case, emphasis on the “ass.”