Posts Tagged ‘emotional abuse’

I pick up every book intending to love it. I really do. That’s why this review saddens me. I don’t want to have to write reviews like this.

There is often a fine line between alpha male and abuser. Maybe it’s not that fine a line, come to think of it. After all, the sexiest alpha males have respect for their women or partners. Abusers? Not even close.

In Sweet as Sin, narrator Kat tells us she’s been in abusive relationships before and she knows what they look like. Yet she lets Nico manhandle her and even use non-consensual sex as a punishment. In fact, it turns her on.

This isn’t a character who is sincere that she’s done being abused. This is a character who gets off on it.

And so Nico pays off her mortgage without discussing it with Kat. He shows up uninvited. He ignores her when she says no.

And Kat loves it.

This is a kind of depravity that’s not for me. It’s not love; it’s abuse.

There’s nothing that can ever convince me that a story about an abusive man and the woman who loves to be abused is worth my time. Abuse shouldn’t be normed like this; the carnage left in its wake is too expansive and runs too deep. Of course, that’s not on the page. Carnage isn’t romantic.

But apparently, according to some, the abuse itself is.

avatar S RED

I don’t DNF a book often. And to DNF a work of Rock Fiction? Yet that’s exactly what I did with Jennifer Echols’ Dirty Little Secret.

The problem isn’t the story. Much.

Okay, let me try again. The problem isn’t that it’s not Rock Fiction. This most certainly is: Bailey’s sister has a music deal. Bailey’s not allowed to perform or do anything that would draw attention to herself and therefore away from her sister. In short, the label is trying to erase Bailey, and Bailey’s parents are okay with that.

But her grandfather, who she’s living with, has other ideas and he gets her a job as a member of a mall performance troupe, doing covers of old-time country artists. Lucky Bailey gets to dress the parts and play with different people every day.

So having a set of parents who are willing to basically disown their daughter while promoting the other isn’t enough to make me stop reading. Parents in fiction have been horrible clear back to the days when fiction was made up of stories passed down, generation to generation, at the nightly cooking fires. You know: Cinderella? One of the oldest tales of all time.

As a parent, and as a person, what Bailey’s parents do is pretty reprehensible to me. But nope, we’re still not at the reason for my DNF.

It’s Scott, the romantic interest.

At first, he comes off as a Ferris Bueller type, charming and able to get away with everything. Not just charming, but charmed. At first, you can’t help but like the guy. He is, after all, Bailey’s savior, at least at the onset.

But if you’re familiar with the deeper undertones of my buddy Ferris, you’ll see that he’s got some deeper problems. Ferris isn’t a character to emulate or even want to be around.

Nor is Scott.

And when Bailey starts getting into his head, anticipating his needs, and modifying her own behavior… well, she’s bought into his narcissistic behavior. She’s feeding it, she’s the provider of the supply.

This happens within pages of Scott being her savior, mind you. Don’t get me wrong; it’s well done. I’d wager that author Echols knows pretty darn well what she’s writing about, because she’s got it down cold.

Maybe too cold. Because the PTSD came roaring back and I had to set the book down and walk away.

So there ya go. A work of Rock Fiction with a DNF attached to it.