Monday, December 23, 2013

With My Body - Nikki Gemmell

I used to think that most publishers have some secret eye that can discern great works and have the ability to see things that the ordinary eye cannot. Consequently I suffered many 'incredible' books, prize winning books etc that have not stayed with me for more than a day. For the life of me I cannot recall the stories of many of those prize winning books nor their characters. But now having reached an age when it is clearer that it was merely a case of the emperor's new clothes - we all lived and supported that illusion and paid for it too - I can freely express my opinion that the king is wearing no clothes at all.

Luckily I didn't pay (the money at least) for this book - though the time that went into reading it and the feelings it left me with is certainly payment enough. Nikki Gemmel's book 'With My Body, published by Fourth Estate is touted as the sensational follow up to 'The Bride Stripped Bare' which was described as 'wonderfully sensuous', 'simply too beautiful...' and a 'sexual awakening...' by leading publications. If the follow up is anything like the original it makes me think really hard about these guys and what they are really up to.

Girl. Fourteen. Sad family background. Step mother. Father. Lonely. Grows up without love. Meets priapic arts teacher who cannot hide an erection in a girl's school (but really?). Has affair with arts teacher. Does not get pregnant!! Back home. Stumbles upon a lonely creative sorts by mistake. Begins affair. Starts on fifty shades path but stops short for want of guts. Fellow disappears from her life. Does not get pregnant again!! Grows up. Meets some chap in England. Has three boys, Settles in humdrum life. Remembers old love.. Goes back to Australia. Finds that her teacher (not the arts teacher) has been kicked by her Dad. But he loved her. Wanted to empower her. Make her beautiful. Anyway while making her beautiful his writer's block shifts. God knows what else happens. She's happy. He's dead. Perhaps. Who cares?

What the f...? What kind of trash is this? Never in the books 480 pages do you feel like reading an entire sentence - buy hey, there are no entire sentences almost - its all like the above para. To top is all each chapter is titled as a lesson and comes with a quote by the author herself, and through each lesson comes further quotes from classics handed over generously by Mr. Creative who cannot create a single quote worth remembering. Never does the girl rise above anything but a dry and dreary adolescent lacking energy and mischief, one who is stuck in self pity if anything, not your most seductive Lolita unless your hero is another self-pitying kind which he is. No other man would have the kind of a sensibility than to take advantage of a 14 year old in the depths of woods and urging her on to keep it quiet while he 'empowers her'. I cannot stand such creepy, slimy characters especially when they are palmed off as some noble chaps who are dying in some pain themselves. The one good thing in the book is that the father thrashes the daylights out of the guy but why did he not file a complaint against him?

No one page engages you longer than five seconds what with the depth of prose not going beyond the superficial in both emotion and experience, characters that have nothing to offer except a need to engage their lust. No more is required to describe this book - the second of its kind I have read this year - the first being 'Fifty Shades of Grey' which appears like a classic in comparison. But believe me, both are avoidable. They don't turn you on, they don't give you nothing.

I remember I wrote my first novel when I saw a bad piece of writing that got published as a novel - I am now seriously wondering if there is a bigger market for the shallow and superficial types now than the serious reader. Maybe that's where one should head to.

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