Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spooky Little Girl - A Book Review

(***This review contains a minor spoiler)

Is it fair to review a book that I didn't even finish? I debated it for a nano-second before I decided it's my blog and I'll review if I want to (review if I want to, review if I want to).

I used to be one of those readers that if I began a book it was a point of pride for me to complete it cover-to-cover come hell, high water, or writing so bad it reduced your I.Q. with every chapter you completed.

Then I decided life is too short and some things are too painful not to avoid if one has a choice in the matter.

Laurie Notaro is on my list of favorite authors for her semi-autobiographical Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Club books, mainly because a few of the vignettes made me laugh until I cried. Humor - I love it. If you doubt me, take a look at the track record of funny, ugly guys that I've dated.

You had me at HarHar.

I awaited Notaro's first foray into fiction with excited anticipation. Spooky Little Girl's premise sounded like reading I would enjoy since I have a penchant for paranormal fiction and urban fantasy. When it arrived on my Kindle, I set aside a portion of a weekend to read it.

After a couple of chapters, I decided to clean house. And you know how much I hate to do that.

Later that evening, I picked it up again, finished another chapter, and went to bed early. Not a good sign. On a free weekend, if I am not up until the wee hours of the morning, clutching the book and chanting "one more page, one more page..." the odds are against the book getting finished.

The writing was clunky and there were chunks missing like roofied memories. I found myself re-reading paragraphs more than once because I lost track of who was speaking, or where they were, or the story wasn't advancing. It didn't help that I didn't like the main character. She was weak. I understand that weakness, foibles, and imperfections are part of being human and establishing a realistic and sympathetic protagonist, but she came across as someone with a victim mentality.

Whiners bug me. Yeah, bad things happen. There are events that occur that are not within your control. Your life goes to crap. Kick a can or two. Call your friends for moral support. Find a shoulder to cry on. But there comes a time when you stop your poor-poor-beleaguered-me moaning and get on with it.

(****SPOILER contained in the following paragraph**** Avert your eyes)

(Seriously?! If I get back from vacay and AssholeBoyfriend has thrown all my crap out on the lawn, changed the locks with no explanation, and is holding my dog hostage, I am going to go all Waiting To Exhale. Lock up my dog, will you?! Dude's going to come home to a kicked in front door and a car that "just spontaneously caught fire, officer.")

Those first few chapters were very muddled. For me, it all eventually bogged down and the whole flow of the story ground to a halt. Even though I read until I reached the major turning point in the plot, I still wasn't interested enough to want to continue.

Since that time, I've thought about the book often. Perhaps I didn't give Spooky Little Girl the shot it deserved. Maybe it gets better in later chapters. Maybe it will get funny. Maybe I'll stop being annoyed and rolling my eyes at the pathetic antics of the main character. Maybe, maybe, maybe... As my life ticks on and the title gets pushed onto the second and third page on my kindle books list I think about it less and less. I'm afraid Spooky Little Girl is destined to finally fade and blow away like a wisp of ghostly smoke.


  1. This is one of your best reviews yet!

    I have never read any of her books but I've always wanted to. I know Kate loves her books! If I ever do get around to reading her books, I'll make sure not to let Spooky Little Girl be my jumping off point.

    Have a great week!

  2. I loved Spooky Little Girl, but I completely agree that I too would go all Waiting To Exhale on Aaron's butt if he tried to lock me out and keep my dog. I read the book pretty quickly, and for me it was kind of Beetlejuice/Dead Like Me. And it's actually not her first fiction book- she wrote There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell: A Novel of Sewer Pipes, Pageant Queens, and Big Trouble a few years back, but it's not that far off from her non-fiction.

    She does have a new book coming out soon and it looks like it's more in the style Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Club and Diary of a Fat Bride.

  3. Ooops. I guess I should have said her first foray into the paranormal fiction genre.