Elevate Difference

Savor the Moment

Sometimes when I finish a book, I can't help but feel that the experience has made me better in some way. Maybe that sounds really cheesy, but it's true. That's one of my favorite things about reading great classic literature: it just leaves you awestruck. I loved the wildness of Wuthering Heights, the subtle, brilliant emotions of Jane Eyre, the intricate story of A Tale of Two Cities, and the straight-up genius wit of Les Liaisons dangereuse.

There are modern writers who can move me, too, like in My Sister's Keeper. Avid readers know this. This is why we read. And then there are some books that, after you read them, you feel like part of your brain has been lobotomized. I give you Nora Roberts' Savor the Moment.

Maybe that sounds harsh, but I think it's justified. I like Nora Roberts, I really do. I've read almost all of her books. I've come to expect a formulaic, predictable story from her, but I'm okay with that. Hell, that's precisely why I read the romance genre in general. What I'm not okay with her trying to sell me shit. And I'm sorry, but that's what she's doing in this Bride Quartet series.

I wasn't particularly kind to the last installment in this series, Bed of Roses, but again, I was justified. Emma was effing annoying, and the way that Roberts expected the reader to accept that her behavior was rational and not insulting to all women was insulting to all women. I had hopes that the rest of the books would be better because my biggest problem with Bed of Roses was Emma's perfect life. Laurel, the heroine in Savor the Moment, is not perfect. But does Roberts delve into Laurel's issues in any depth? Does Roberts show us anything about Laurel outside of her love for the hero, Del? No. Seriously, folks, she doesn't. Laurel apparently has a background that I would have liked to learn about. But I never got that chance.

Come on, Nora. It's bad enough that you're writing four books about freakin' weddings. As if the wedding industry in this country isn't absolutely ridiculous in the way that they put all the focus on one day, you give us four women who make their livelihood out of catering to these self-absorbed people.

Not only that, but you present them in a really annoying way. These women never make freakin' mistakes. Ever. They always know exactly how to talk down a bride, or exactly which flowers they'll like, or exactly what cake they'll want. Every. Single. Time. Throw in some screw-ups every once in a while and we'll talk.

The worst is Mac, the photographer. This woman sounds like the kind of photographer that makes me hulk out. In the first book she did a pregnancy session where she made the pregnant lady get naked. Anyone who knows me knows I hate those kind of pictures with a passion that will never die. And I'm sorry, Nora, but it sounds like Mac has little to no imagination as a photographer. The bride is a florist? Let's shoot her in a garden! The groom is an English teacher? Let's shoot him with books! The couple met as children and shared a fondness for cookies? Let's shoot them with cookies! Please. I know wedding photographers that do amazing, amazing work and never result to that unimaginative shit.

But your worst transgression is the complete and utter failure to portray these women in a real way. They are obsessed with weddings, and even when the four friends are together, all they talk about is work or relationships. Oh, yeah, and sex. These women never shut up about sex. When they have it, they have to make mention of it. When they're not having it, they make mention of the others having it. Seriously, I don't know women like this. Don't they ever talk about important stuff? Current events, the economy, feminism, celebrity gossip, books they've read, etc? Nope. Just men. And weddings. And sex with men.

Look, I get that you've got a theme here. Each woman in this series needs to get a man in each installment of the series. But for the love of God, what is wrong with dating for a while? Emma and Laurel were with their respective men for about two months tops before they're distraught over whether or not the men want to be with them forever. For fuck's sake, what is the rush? Why can't a couple admit that they're in love more than five minutes before a marriage proposal?

As you can tell, I did not like this book. At all. But I will still read the last book, because I'm a masochist. And an optimist. Parker, the last heroine to be paired up, has the potential to be more multidimensional than all her man-crazy friends. She also comes across as truly independent and strong. But Nora, you've gotta step it up. You're getting lazy, here. Don't think we haven't noticed.

Cross-posted at The Bookshelf

Written by: Lindsey Simon, May 6th 2010