Publication date: May 2018
Review, short version: Four skunks out of four.
Review, long version:
One of my writing teachers often said, “Don’t use clichés. Express your thoughts in your words.”
It’s too bad Mary Kay Andrews, author of The High Tide Club, wasn’t in that writing class.
Her book is crammed, start to finish, with clichés, including:
- The lead female character, Brooke, is a runaway bride.
- Prior to running away, she quits her job before finding another job.
- She’s also an unwed mother.
- The father of Brooke’s son doesn’t know about the child.
- But we know, and we know he doesn’t know we know.
- Brooke’s father left her mother for another woman.
- Brooke doesn’t like her new stepmother.
- Brooke’s former mentor has the hots for her.
- Brooke’s mother Marie discovers her father isn’t who she thought he was.
- So Brooke deduces her grandfather isn’t who she thought he was.
- Marie’s mother, Millie, is a murderer who gets away with it.
- Old lies. Old secrets. Old money. Old mansion. And an old, nasty lady. All this takes place – and this has gotten old – in the Deep South.
And I haven’t even touched on other highlights listed by an Amazon reviewer: “Rape, racism, reparation, abuse, illegitimacy and white privilege are all dragged into this mess.”
Almost as abundant are Andrews’ references to bodily functions:
- Page 9: “You scared the shit out of me!”
- Page 158: “Dweez [a cat] doesn’t like to poop in new territory.”
- Page 171: “And you [Ruth] had terrible gas,” followed later by, “a faint phhhhht coming from Ruth…”
- Page 221: “He [Henry, Brooke’s three-year-old son] pooped in the potty.”
- Page 265: “Put a big ol’ bag of flaming dog poop on my mama’s doorstep Friday night.”
- Page 320: “I poop,” Henry said proudly.
- Page 321: Her cute low-cut top had somehow come into contact with Henry’s soiled backside.
- Page 352: “I pooped,” [Henry] said solemnly.
- Page 466: “I think [Henry] gets a subversive thrill from pooping in his pants at the most inappropriate times.” (I wasn’t aware that there’s an appropriate time.)
- Page 467: “I pooped,” [Henry] announced proudly.
I especially thank Henry for sharing.
Then there’s the editing, or lack of. A great editor would have cut at least 200 pages from this 470-page travesty. A mediocre editor would have at least caught these errors:
Pg 151: Brooke finished her iced tea and set it in the sink. (Set what in the sink? The iced tea? The glass? Her ass?)
Pg 287: “What exactly are you looking for?” Felicia asked, sitting in Josephine’s recliner, a seat Brooke had consciously. (Yup. That’s how the sentence ends.)
Pg 315: “Her head might just spin all the way off her head at the very idea.” (Wait. What?)
If you’re looking for a cliché-ridden, bodily function-filled, error-permeated book and have tons of time to waste, by all means, read Andrews’ latest.
And, heck – at least Brooke had one brief flash of self-awareness. On page 102, she whined, “I’m like some big, stupid sitcom.”
Yes, you are, Brooke.
And so is The High Tide Club.