In case you might be interested, this week I’m reviving my other blog, Angry Postcards From Nihilist Penguins, which has been dormant since January. If you like the stuff that I do here, I put up long and short-form comedy posts over there that don’t make sense to put on BBGT, but there’s also not-comedy and poetry and music I make. I’m updating it every day this week for the revival, so take a look if you so desire!
Meanwhile, in Reflected In You, we have another chapter demonstrating why a sequel really needs to have, you know, a plot.
I’ve been critical since the first chapter of Reflected In You for taking what we here at Bad Books, Good Times like to call (as of now-ish) the “Fifty Sequels of Grey” route, where instead of having a plot, it’s just a meandering continuation of the directionless story from when we last left it. This is bad because we have no idea where the story is supposed to be going, and the story doesn’t either, so it’s just repeating itself.
“Is that coffee I smell for me?”
“If you’re good.”
My eyes popped open. “But you like me bad.”
Seriously, it’s a total filler chapter. If Reflected In You was a Beatles album, Ringo would sing this chapter. Everything in it is something we’ve read before, starting with a painful reminder that Fifty Shades/Crossfire mummy porn is sexually “progressive” but feministically (or a real word) in the middle ages…
“It’s not a question of whether I want to go [to the concert]. If you’re going, so am I.”
My brows rose. “Is that right? And what if I hadn’t asked you?”
He reached for my hand and gently twirled my promise ring around my finger. “Then you wouldn’t be going, either.”
…to a painful reminder that there are actual, mildly interesting subplots in this book that have been abandoned since maybe halfway through the first book that have never been fleshed out.
“Who says it’s rock? Maybe it’s classical. Or Celtic. Or pop.”
“Six-Ninths signed with Vidal Records.”
“Oh.” Vidal Records was run by Gideon’s stepfather, Christopher Vidal Sr., but Gideon had controlling interest. I wondered how a boy grew up to take over his stepfather’s family business. I figured whatever the reason was, it was also why Gideon’s half brother, Christopher Jr., hated him to the extreme.
Could this possibly be interesting? Maybe! We’ll never know! We need every single page to be about how Gideon and Eva are awful people in a codependent relationship.
“Is that so terrible, angel? Is it so unforgivable that I hate taking my eyes off you?”
Eva goes to lunch with her boss, his partner, and his partner’s sister, Shawna, another minor character who, like everybody else in this book, is incredibly insecure.
“I’m so jealous of your tan,” Shawna said, looking more casual and cute in jeans, embellished tank top, and filmy scarf. “The sun just makes me red and gives me freckles.”
So, seriously, everybody in this book is constantly seeking validation or evaluating everyone else’s qualities as a romantic and/or sexual partner.
“Doug’s my boyfriend. He’s in Sicily for the summer taking a culinary course. He’s a chef.”
“Nice,” I said. “I dig guys who can cook.”
WHO GIVES A SHIT, EVA. He’s not your man! Why does everybody in this novel think everyone else cares about whether they find their significant others attractive or not? (I’m looking at you, Megumi.) This book is insignificant detail after insignificant detail after sexist comment after insignificant detail.
We entered the restaurant and were seated right away, thanks to the reservation I’d made when Mark had invited me to lunch.
Well, fucking congratulations, Eva! Thank god you let us know that you did this, I was calling into question the verisimilitude of this novel because I just couldn’t fathom how the four of you started eating lunch in a restaurant!
They need a fourth person to go to the concert that is by now pretty much the only event actually taking place in the plot.
“if your guy has a friend who’s fine with filling the empty seat with no possibility of a hookup, bring him along.”
I immediately thought of Cary and grinned.
Haha, fuck Cary. But Eva decides instead to see if Gideon wants to invite one of his own friends, even though she admits (and the confused reader is already pretty sure) that Gideon has no friends.
“You didn’t think I had friends?” he asked, clearly amused.
“You’ve never introduced me to any,” I said sullenly, picking at the hem of my T-shirt. […]
Gideon laughed, and the sound spread through me in a heated rush of pleasure. “I’ve introduced you to a few of my friends when we’ve been out.”
But of course, it’s not a scene with Gideon without awful sexual tension:
“I want you all to myself for a while. And I really, really need to fuck you for a very long time. […]” His eyes closed as I touched him. “I miss being inside you.”
Well, Eva has been on her period for 134 pages.
“I want to know what your fantasy is.” […]
“A sex swing, Eva. Your gorgeous ass in a seat, feet in stirrups, legs spread wide, your perfectly wet cunt wet and waiting.”
Okay, I’ve been holding this in for about a book and a half now; I have no idea what the word “cunt” is doing in this book. This book keeps using it as a sexy word, but I’ve always understood it to be an incredibly offensive word. It is a word that, when used, I have always seen make a room go quiet, uncomfortable, and quite frequently angry at the person who used it. And sure, I have no idea what people get off on, and that’s their business anyway, so while it made me really uneasy, I thought I’d let it pass in this book series, because I’m a straight, cis male and I understand that I’m not going to have anything useful to contribute to the conversation about the word “cunt”. But it makes me incredibly uncomfortable how Gideon keeps throwing it around nonchalantly in this book, and it is accepted as normal pillow talk and never questioned, and I am certain that I’m not the only one that thinks this. Honestly, I would be fascinated to know what kind of person does enjoy the word “cunt” being used in their erotica. Because there is no part of it that makes sense to me.
Gideon’s hand shoved between my legs and cupped my sex.
This book will use the word “cunt” and the word “sex”, but it will never use the word “vagina.” That fucking says it all, doesn’t it?