I really don’t think there is another word that captures my feeling while reading The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, which is supposed to be a mystery, but by the time the book gets around to the “who? what? where?” questions, you don’t really care, anymore.
I have a feeling this book was self-published, particularly because of the formatting. The author switches viewpoints between characters a lot, but there wasn’t even a paragraph break in the text when this happens, which is both disconcerting and annoying. Also, while I understand why the author switched viewpoints so often, it was not written particularly well.
So – Gordonston is an area in the city of Savannah, Georgia. This fact is completely wasted in this novel, however. If you have been to Savannah, you know that it is a beautiful city, with a lot of different aspects. This book focused on one area of Savannah, but did not really have much discussion of the landscape of the city. There were vague descriptions of a park that everyone takes their dog to, and a couple of mentions of the heat.
If you have not been to Savannah, I recommend that you read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Midnight… is such a good book, and does a great job of revealing the feeling of the Georgian city. Reading Midnight… is what made me want to visit the city, which I did after receiving my Bachelor’s Degree. (I highly recommend a visit to the Mercer house, which the Gordonston… book at least mentioned.)
The author tries to make the book interesting by creating “zany” characters. And these characters are pretty screwed up. [Warning: Spoilers are about to follow. Read at your own peril of being annoyed that you already know shit about this book.]
- There’s the “gorgeous” chick who arranges for a vacation in Paris with the husband she has been dating since high school, without realizing he has a passport.
- There are the two ridiculous, wealthy older ladies who vie for the attention of a man whose wife dies somewhere within the first 100 pages of the book (I wish I could be more specific, but I just. Can’t. Look through that book for details.)
- There are numerous Nazi/Hitler references.
- There is a nephew who pretends to be doing all of this awesome humanitarian work in poor countries, who is actually scamming money from people so he can have crazy adventures in Europe.
- All of these characters are very (I repeat: VERY) self-involved, yet the reader is supposed to believe that these people have enough wherewithal to keep their dogs alive.
& I didn’t even tell you guys all of the crazy shizz that goes on in this book.
That’s actually why I read the book. I was expecting a mystery filled with colorful characters. But while the characters are kind of crazy, it wasn’t really any fun to read about their crazy. Don’t get me wrong – I read the entire book. I wanted to know what the author was going to do next. But rather than I-must-keep-reading-this-book-is-amazing-OMG-how-can-the-author-wrap-this-up reading, I was more interested in continuing to read to see how much carnage the train wreck was going to create.
If train A leaves the station in Grand Rapids at 9 a.m., going 125 mph, and this book continues for another 120 pages, will I feel like chucking this book under the train when it rolls through Ann Arbor?
The mystery ends up consisting of which character is going to be killed, though there are supposed to be a couple of “twists” regarding the identity of the contract killer and the manager of a secret contract-killing business that all of the residents of Savannah know about that can be seen a mile away. And why the character who is killed is killed is also supposed to be a surprise, but isn’t really all that surprising, at all.
The book ended, and I realized that it had been a chore to read. Partially because the story was so forced. Partially because the writing was terrible. Instead of being simple and clear, or detailed and specific, the author chose to go the route of vague and unintentionally hilarious. There are descriptions (that I’m paraphrasing because I refuse to open the book again) like: “Kelly wore her long blonde hair in a very trendy style.” There’s also a line something along the lines of: “Kelly and Tom got plenty of exercise through making love, which was expected with a recently married couple, but because they were so attractive, was expected doubly so.”
But the point when I literally looked up from the book, puzzled expression on my face, and said: “Wow,” was another scene between the recently married couple. Kelly, the attractive blonde who could be a model if she wanted to, but works at the make-up counter at Macy’s, wakes up a few minutes before her husband needs to get up for work he thinks, but she’s going to spring their vacation on him that he can’t join her on because he doesn’t have a passport, which she should know since it seems they’ve been living together for a decent amount of time and also she’s known him since high school. (Run-on intentional; I dare you to read that sentence aloud.) But Kelly doesn’t know this when she wakes up and sees the early time on her alarm clock. Kelly wakes up excited, and full of the spunk that made Tom fall in love with her. She decides to wake him up “in his favorite way.” He wakes up talking about a weird dream, and Kelly “smiles secretly” and there’s some mention of a salty taste in her mouth.
No. No. No. No. No!
In case anyone was swayed by the author’s misguided attempt to portray how “frisky” and “fun” the young couple is, let me explain that since Tom was sleeping, and could not give consent, he was sexually molested by his wife.
In the same way that it is not okay for a man to have sex with his wife while she is sleeping, it is also not okay to give someone a blow job while they are sleeping. Basically, it is not okay to do anything to a sleeping person other than wake them up, and maybe cuddle. Maybe, depending on your relationship. If a person cannot consent to a sexual act, it is wrong to engage in that sexual act, even if you’re “sure” that person would be cool with it if that person was awake. That person is not awake, therefore, it is not okay to engage in that sexual act. Even if you’re married to that person.
I just felt I should be very clear & emphatic about that, because, we all know that not everyone seems to understand the need for consent.
Overall, The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club was a terrible book that I do not recommend to anyone. If you think you want to read it, you are probably wrong. I paid somewhere between $1-2 for it, and feel like I overpaid.
Teenage suicide & reading this book – don’t do it!