DNF @ 30%
You might be asking yourself, "Nenia, what's your deal, didn't you know what you were getting into with the title?" The answer, gentle reader, is sort of. HOW TO DATE A DOUCHEBAG did imply that the hero would be a well, you know. However, reading books like Elle Kennedy's THE DEAL has taught me that sometimes reading about jerk boys with hearts of gold can be fun. Will they contain and even perpetuate stereotypes that annoy me? Probably. Are they mindless book-cookies of endless joy? Maybe. Is reading them going to destroy my feminist principles? No.
HOW TO DATE A DOUCHEBAG is like a less-good version of THE DEAL. Sebastian originally meets Jameson in their school's library. He's hanging out with his friends and getting quickies from his all-girl fan club (no, really) and she's studying by herself while watching them stealthily through her long eyelashes like it's prime-time HBO she's watching with an ex-boyfriend's password.
Anyway, one of Sebastian's friends wants him to go over and see if she's his tutor because he's too lazy to get up and see for himself (no, really) and anyone wearing a sweater set and glasses has to be a tutor (no, really). So Sebastian gets up, talks to her, they insult each other, and then makes a skeazy bet with his friends that he can get her to kiss him. Which he does, after he promises to pay her half of the bet money, and it's the hottest thing he's ever felt in the history of sex. Also, they're friends now.
Here's my main issue with the book. Jameson is portrayed as a good girl and classy because she wears a sweater and pearls. BEAUTIFUL DISASTER tried that tack, too, as I recall. But Jameson isn't smart like the heroine in THE DEAL is, she just studies - which doesn't make her that special in a university setting, to be honest. Everyone studies; if you don't, you fail. Badly. She's also judgemental AF and totally inconsistently characterized, but I guess that's the best you can expect from someone whose sweater collection is meant to substitute for an actual personality.
Sebastian was even worse. Everything that came out of his mouth was so hyper-sexual and he said the most demeaning, objectifying things about women. If it was a sixty-year-old white dude saying it instead of a twenty-something white dude saying it, he would be the precautionary tale in a workplace sexual harassment training video, that's how bad it was. What makes this even more disgusting is that the hero's sister was the victim of workplace sexual harassment and the company rallied behind the perpetrator, so all their money was lost in litigation. How could you have a family member go through something like that and continue to gleefully perpetuate the very system that enabled someone you loved to go through so much hurt? It was so tone-deaf.
Maybe if I forced myself to finish, this book could finagle another star from me. I did like the beginning, even if it was very reminiscent of THE DEAL, but the insta-friendship/lust between the hero and heroine, and the hero's non-stop spewing of crudely objectifying language, really killed this book for me. If you don't mind dirty-talking sexist pigs, your opinion may well be different.
1 out of 5 stars
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