Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Fairytales by Cynthia Freeman

DNF @ p.156

Two years ago, I got to meet my friend Heather in person and we spent the most amazing day in San Francisco, and she gave me this really cool vintage book (also set in San Francisco!). Shortly afterwards, she found a copy of her own and we decided we were going to buddy read this together-- for SCIENCE.

FAIRYTALES is the story of Catherine Antoinette Frances Posata Rossi, a rich, Southern Italian girl who gets married... and then makes it her business to control everyone around her with emotional manipulation, histrionics, and self-destructive behavior. The timeline is all over the place. In the beginning of the book, she's a very young woman meeting her husband-to-be, Dominic, for the first time. Then she's an old woman, residing in a day spa for obese people, lounging around naked in a dark room while slugging back cognac and wine. Then she's middle aged, with children, harping at her husband and plotting murder when he has an affair. It's EVERYWHERE.

(Are you a timelord, Catherine Antoinette Frances Posata Rossi?)

Another thing is that large swaths of this book are told in stream of conscious format. The heroine drops the 'g' from all words ending in -ing so you know she's "Southern," and you'll hear the phrase "cotton-picking" until you want to scream. There are paragraphs that last for multiple pages (one lasts longer than three), and the dialogue in here just goes full ham awful. This makes Jackie Collins look like a candidate for the Nobel prize. Where was the editor during all this? No doubt in a hotel room, slugging back cognac and wine.

The 1970s just oozes from the pages of this book. Everyone is tan and blonde and rich, but like, sleazy Donald Trump rich with everything slathered in Rococo and settlement money. The San Francisco scenes are especially funny to me because the heroine compares a five bedroom apartment in SF to "the ghetto" (which... um, no? DO YOU KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE THAT IS?) and I laughed outright when she mentions finding an abandoned pier in the Embarcadero because GOOD LUCK WITH THAT TODAY. (Actually, we're in quarantine, so you might actually have luck with that today-- but only in these very special circumstances.)

I ended up bailing on Heather (who has assured me she intends to keep reading for the greater good), and you can check out her review here when she posts it. The only two good things about this book are 1) it has that nice old book smell that is like being a child and rooting through your grandmother's purse (kind of thick and perfumey and a little too powdery-sweet), and 2) it was gifted to me by a dear friend and is a reminder of a pleasant day during better times. Apart from that, this book sucks.

1 out of 5 stars

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