Vigilante By Shelley Harris
At the start of this year, my friend started a book club. Our first book choice was “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman, which I loved and have already reviewed. You can find that here:
The second book selection was the subject of this review. I only wish that my reaction to this book was the same as that of the first one.
I truly hated this book. The story was weak. The characters were weak. The entire premise was more than a little ridiculous.
Before I go any further, I will issue a spoiler alert, although I hardly think I will be spoiling anything about this book, seeing as there is practically nothing about it to spoil.
We begin the book with a disappointed and discontented housewife, tidying up after her careless husband and teenaged daughter. I am not going to do more here than say that I don’t like tidying and chores when I am the one doing them. I like them even less when I’m reading about someone else doing them. I can think of nothing more boring.
We then are introduced to her husband’s superhero comic book that he’s drawing. Enter the green eyed monster. The main character becomes jealous (of a fictional character), and sets about designing her own super hero costume for a fancy dress party that they are invited to.
The costume in itself, is ridiculous. I don’t know of any super hero that would wear fishnet stockings, and red high heels. Regardless, the costume was finished, and while on the way to the party, the main character intercepts a mugging.
From here, ensues a series of “Should I?” and “I really shouldn’t” moments, where the mc can’t quite make up her mind what she wants to do, which left me (the reader) wanting to simultaneously strangle her and kick her up the proverbial behind! I mean, seriously, a young girl is discovered missing, presumed kidnapped, and rather than calling the police, this woman agonises about whether she’s going to put on the costume and go to look for her or not.
The entire thing was, to coin the phrase of two members of the book club, “pretentious crap”. There was an emphasis put on women in stereotypical roles. The downtrodden housewife, living a double life. The butch lesbian police officer. The closeted lesbian teenager. All in all, it was simply too much politics, and not enough story or premise.
The language was flowery, and just way too much. The author even had the bare faced cheek to use the phrase “I won’t mince words” after a particularly lengthy passage of text, where the salient points could have been conveyed in half the words.
There was, however, one thing (and just the one, mind you) that I took from this book and that I found valuable. This was the technique shown the main character when she attended a self defence class, and was taught that if she was attacked, then one of the weakest points on an assailant is the little finger, which, when grabbed and pulled back, will make them let go.
This is something that, almost two months after reading the book, has stayed with me, and that I can say is very valuable.
Overall, though, I do not recommend this book, unless your main goal for reading it is to make yourself lose the will to live… multiple times. I’m serious!
If you’ve read it, what do you think about it? Do you disagree with me? I’d love to hear your views.
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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.