WMHB Prologue: A.K.A. Trapped Inside Main Character’s Head…Help!

I was inspired by blogger Jenny Trout who reviewed the 50 Shades Novels.  She posted reviews of each individual chapter with loving snark that brought me to tears with laughter.  It couldn’t have been easy.  I’ve given myself migraines trying to read a really bad book, so I commend her for sticking to the project even when it was obviously painful to do.  She took something utterly horrid, and made something beautiful with it!  It’s because of her that I’m writing this now.  Remember that book that gave me a migraine?  Well I’m giving it to you.  Not all of it, but a general feel for what happens and my personal two-cents on them.  It’s somewhat in the same style as Jenny, with a few quotes and passages from the book itself.  Anything in red italics is a direct quote from the book and is not my own wording.  As a side note the book is only ever going to be referred to as WMHB, (link to a little synopsis of said book there) and the only names I’m going to use are the ones for the historical characters, as everyone else could be called anything under the sun and it wouldn’t change a damn thing.

Why am I doing this?  I just can’t stop myself.  The premise was so promising, and it got ruined so terribly by the author’s own vanity.  If they had just edited, and proofread and edited some more then maybe it would have been enjoyable and I could gladly give them kudos for a job well done.  But I can’t.  I could say congrats on finishing a story, but then I’d feel like I was giving them a participation trophy.  Honestly, there really should have been someone to point out that it needed quite a bit of polish before going out.  Really, they should have.

But all that aside, I also wanted to do this to see if there was a way to salvage it.  I wanted to see if, chapter by chapter, there was any saving it in the first place.  I mean, I can say that with editing it could have been good, but just how much editing would have had to happen?  Would the story even be recognizable in the end?  I post the question to you as I sort of pick it apart here.  What do you think? Will you join me on this journey into literary torture? If you’re still here, I have my answer.  Onward!

Also, in an effort of full disclosure, I was given a free copy by a friend, for an honest review.  Also, to show that I’m not just picking and choosing sentences that have problems, I provide the first paragraph of each chapter to you for free. You’re welcome.

Red stained the ancient altar, a tribute to the gods who had once ruled over the world as the Aztecs had known it.  Giant teeth protruded from the gaping jaws of the monster waiting to devour the bodies that had been hastily stacked once they had been thrown from the top of the giant pyramid.  The monster waited patiently, as it eyed its meal.  Meanwhile, the colored headdress of the priests seemed to be caught in motion as they lifted their blood-stained arms heaven-ward in supplication, soundlessly praying to their barbaric gods to keep their people alive, their fields plentiful and their rivers fresh.

So, we open on our Main Character (who will be referred to as MC from now on) looking at a bloodstained Aztec altar in a museum contemplating the Aztec’s motives  and whatnot.  She marvels at their incredible eye for detail and use of color.  Eventually she gets uneasy wondering what went through the sacrifices’ minds as they were about to die.

These are the first five paragraphs, and all the while I’m wondering what the point is. The back of the book makes it clear that the majority of the action will take place in Tombstone.

She continues to walk though the museum, being so happy that no other humans are there to spoil the moment.  Here we get such condescending tidbits of thought like: ‘Lets not forget the know-it-alls who seem to think that Da Vinci was the creator of the Sistine Chapel,’ she thought.

Admittedly, yes, those kinds of people are wrong, and could be annoying.  However, she’s not exactly in a European art museum at the moment.  So, the correlation seems off and as I said before, a bit condescending. Besides, what does that have to do with it being quiet at the museum?  I suppose if she was a tour guide this may make some sense, but there’s no mention of it yet.  But anyway, she’s content knowing only the true aficionados were there quietly debating the merits of Picasso versus the classic realism of Renoir.

Let me stop her here.  Though Picasso is well known for his impressionist work, he did in fact have some realism under his belt.  Conversely, though, Renoir was one of the leading painters in the Impressionist movement.  Though he wasn’t nearly as out there and experimental as Picasso, he wasn’t exactly part of the classic realism brand of Art.  Perhaps she meant Rembrandt or Bouguereau?  This statement, coming on the heals of her comment about “know-it-alls” is a bit comical coming from someone who at least marginally paid attention to her art history.  Moving on.

The sounds of her black Prada boots were muffled on the polished floors.

Sound doesn’t work that way, honey.  Solids conduct sound the best.  A polished floor would allow for a satisfying and echoing clack, where as something with marginal carpeting would muffle.

Enter her boyfriend (Now forever called MrPerfect, or at least for one more chapter).  Considering what happens in the rest of the book, it’s safe to say he is only here to initially show the reader how desirable MC is.  He’s six foot two, has a curtain of chestnut hair, is a part-time bartender AND part-time rocker.  Hazel eyes, athletic body…did I mention she’s taken on a vow of celibacy with this guy.  (I.E. she’s really a virgin, but the author doesn’t want to say it outright just yet, like it’s some sort of surprise reveal.)  Not only this, but her “Professional Dress” is a pair of tight leather pants, a red bustier and a knee length jacket.

I’ll just leave this right here…

So, MrPerfect thinks she’s sexy, and of course because she’s size ten, she doesn’t believe him!  There’s some sexy banter where you are told about the chastity thing. Dressed like that? Yep! Seems legit!

They’re about to go eat when her mom calls.  Typical daughter put out by mother but pretending to not be type behavior is shown.  You kind of feel sorry for the mother who just wants to know how her child is.  While they are discussing how MC’s work is going, MC mentions that the museum is still working on the Renoir exhibit.  But usually that means the exhibit would be under construction.  I hate to nitpick, but weren’t there connoisseurs of art debating the merits of Renoir vs. Picasso earlier?  You learn quickly that her mom had to give her up when she was in eighth grade, and for a moment the main character feels a bit of respect for her that she made that hard decision.  But that lasts all of one paragraph of reminissing before MC dryly mentions it’s pointless for her (MC) to ask her mother about her job.  I might mention there’s still no reason really for MC to act the way she is about her mother.  Not as far as the author has given us.  And also no mention of what the mother’s job is, but just wait! You’re gonna love the reveal!

So Mom says she wants to have lunch with MC and Bf sometime.  MC rolls her eyes at this and I’m not sure if I will ever like this person because she’s coming off as a snotty bitch since the moment I was thrust into her head.  Let Me OUT!!!

MC invites her mother to join them for lunch.  Now, MrPerfect is nothing but encouraging and sweet, even while MC is making it clear she’d rather not be bothered with her mother.  She apologyses to him, but not for inviting Mom to join.  No, this is what she says:

As she hung up the phone, MC rolled her eyes. “Sweetie, I’m so sorry,” she said, looking imploringly at her boyfriend. “Mom’s going to come with us for lunch.”

I’m sorry, but I don’t care how much you can hear the plea in her mother’s voice, if you are this disturbed, annoyed, or uncomfortable with the thought of lunch or any interaction with your own mother, don’t invite, interact or otherwise have anything to do with her!

So MrPerfect is still chill about this, and though we don’t know how long they’ve been dating yet, it should be long enough for her to have divulged the unforgivable sin her mom committed to cause her to act so “ashamed“.  Are you ready for it readers?

Mom is a prostitute and has been most of Deanna’s life.  That was what prompted her to give her daughter up to family friends at the age of thirteen or fourteen.  Mind you, I think unless her ex-husband was an absolute rock-bottom looser who was abusive, I think he would have gotten custody much sooner than that when someone found out about Mom had started turning tricks.  Realistically, it would’ve happened quickly too.  Of course, that is assuming the mother knows who the father is.  Now, barring these three paragraphs of unfortunate circumstances, Mom’s character is established as being one who did what she could to survive, and in the end she loves and cares about her daughter.  As for what is shown to the reader, this is a believable statement.  However, I saw nothing whatsoever that would even marginally justify MrPerfect’s statement of “You are a great woman who cares about her mom.” to MC.  Nothing.  Find me the love, please? I think I missed it!

There’s a bit more banter where MrPerfect strokes her ego and then suggests they go do their thing with Mom then go home, he’ll give her a massage then he’ll make dinner.  But, just like MrPerfect, we’re going to be left unfullfilled because she was called by her Best friend forever (BFF) who wants MC to come by after lunch and show her something. (remember this, because MC and BFF will conveniently forget)

NO biggy for MrPerfect, he’ll see her after and give her a massage then.  She hugs him as if she’s saying goodbye, (but they’re still going to dinner right?) and says something about what would she do without him.  Thing is, this is probably the only time we see MrPerfect.  So, obviously he’s not so indispensable, yes?  I guess we’ll see in later chapters if being separated from him totally devastates her or not.  For now though, it’s the end of the prologue and I need to recharge cause this wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg!

Thank you for joining me in this.  Tune in next week for chapter 2- wait…no this was a prologue, chapter 1 where a major herp-derp moment causes MC to suffocate (I wish)



About Cici Brown
I'm a happily married mother of two and a half. I'm usually pretty bubbly and in some cases, according to my husband, too open about everything. I am and always will be a gamer geek, though I haven't table-top roleplayed for many years. I still manage to hit an MMO or two. My interests include most things geek and Vampire fiction, though not the sparkly kind, that's not vampire fiction. I have goals towards publishing that have yet to be fulfilled but one day...

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