Thursday, 1 September 2011
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #167
Mean for Each Other - Lee Duran
N.B. This is a North American release
From the back cover:
"Frankie Hale doesn't believe in love at first sight...until she meets Johnny Davis. And hours after that first meeting, he carves their initials into a tree, joining them forever. If only it were so easy.
From the very beginning, their on-again, off-again romance makes them the talk of their small Missouri town. It's clear that Frankie and Johnny are meant to be together, so why do they have to struggle to make this relationship work? Or are they learning the hard way that a love worth having takes a lifetime to build?"
Another Superromance, this time I sent my husband up to my bookshelves to pick one out for me! This was very painful to read.
The heroine Frankie recieves a call in the middle of the night informing her that her ex-husband Johnny, the hero, is in hospital after having a heart attack and she is still down as his emergency contact. As she is traveling to the hospital she reminices over her relationship with Johnny. Told through flashbacks we learn that Frankie and Johnny met as teenagers in the 60s and they immediatly knew they belonged together. Frankie was a sweet and naive small town girl brought up to know her place as a woman, whereas Johnny was a city boy desperated to break out of his families conservative plans. Over the years Frankie and Johnny went through many ups and downs including; a teenage pregnancy, a hasty marriage, Johnny dropping out of college and getting involved in the hippie and drug culture of the late 60s, infidelity, happiness, having a family, mistrust etc. Over their history Frankie and Johnny have married and divorced three times, but have always loved each other deeply. They have both made mistakes and have not been able to work it out between them, yet despite all of this they know they belong together.
Urgh, what can I say other than is is a heartbreakingly frustrating book. It is so depressing at times that I almost gave up on many occasions, but the way the story is told kept me reading with a 'need' to find out what happened next. The story is told in flashbacks, which I don't mind, but this was told in the first person from the heroine's point of view and it didn't really work for me. The prose is incredibly slow at times, and the characters feel far too underdeveloped.
This book is like the Mike Leigh version of Forrest Gump ... seriously. If the book has one 60's pop culture reference it had a hundred (they just happened to meet Frank Sinatra...!), and there are just far too many clichés. E.g. Not one but two bitchy other women characters, hippies that do drugs as a prerequisite and nothing else, coming home injured from the Vietnam war, girls who grew up in small towns being called squares, an aunt that believed in feminism but of course that meant she had to be single because no man would want her... urgh, if I go on I may blow a fuse!
I got, and sort of liked, the whole 'can't live with each other, can't live without each other' theme of the central relationship and I liked that it was something a little different in style. But it was poorly executed and just too damn sad and upsetting, I really struggled with it.
But, saying all that, I did keep reading... This book has stayed in my mind and not necessarily in a good way, in fact as I write this I'm getting a little upset thinking about it.
Depressing and sad, but a little intriguing in it's originality.