Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1: Gorgeous Start to the Month, but a not-so-good book

Agnes and the HitmanAgnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I do like Jennifer Crusie, and I have liked some of her efforts with Bob Mayer (Don't Look Down, for example). However, Agnes, which I just found at the booksale and thought I'd read before, but haven't, is a decidedly mixed undertaking. There are definite signs of Crusie's general storyline: a cobbled-together, oddball family; strong female characters; a dog; a cooking/eating subtext; her breathy, non-stop style that features long sentences strung together by more conjunctions than my students would approve; sex scenes featuring women who aren't stick thin. However, this novel has a complex betrayal/conspiracy/Mafia/government plot that means the first three chapters are nearly incomprehensible, given Crusie/Agnes's addle-pated delivery and some very unsettling hitman/murder on demand scenes that add a jarring note. More jarring, however, is the scenario of Agnes's murderous rages that have left one fiance with a steel plate in his head and another wounded; a third episode of betrayal leads to her attacking the hitman of the title in a bout a sex that if it had been perpetrated on a woman, would've been unequivocal rape/domestic abuse. I *get* that this is fluff. I *get* that this is a ditzy, wham-bam-thank-you-m'am madcap caper. . . . but it's slightly unsettling, not to say troubling.

This hybrid doesn't work. It was written in 2007, so that gives me hope that she/they matured their style. Back to the library donation bin with Agnes and her hit man!

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