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Dor Does Books

Oh, hai! I read books, then I write down what I think of them. 



DNF 30% - Being anti-social by Leigh K Cunningham

Being Anti-Social - Leigh K. Cunningham

[This book was provided to me for the cost of no monies by the publisher via Edelweiss]


I tried. I failed.


Which is a shame because the first 10 - 15% ish was promising. Although it bills itself as Chick Lit through its cover and blurb (supported by some of the reviews, which is puzzling) it has more in common with the authors who get stuck with a "Female" cover whether it's appropriate or not: Catherine O'Flynn or Joanna Kavenna rather than Sophie Kinsella or Marian Keyes. The style is dry rather than frothy with none of the "all girls together" inclusive feel of Chick Lit. 


As I mentioned in my status update, I initially thought this was going to be something like The Rosie Project. The tone of the narration, and the way Mace - the narrator - took Oscar Wilde's quips slightly too seriously suggested a character whose anti-social tendencies were due to something diagnosable. If I'd had any confidence this *was* going to happen, I probably would have persevered, but I didn't - and I did check out the other reviews for clues as to where the book was going. Feel free to let me know if I was wrong to stop on this account.


Mace is an odd character. Her largest character trait seems to be contempt: for her friends, for her family and, to a degree, for herself but where this book fails for me is its (not Mace's) lack of self-awareness. I don't look for sympathetic or likeable protagonists in my fiction, but I do need to be interested in them: on paper I should have liked her (I hate everybody, I like Oscar Wilde), but I found her boring. If she was a teen, I'd probably describe her as whiny.


Again, it comes back to having confidence in the book. If I'd thought she was going to be the author of her own misery, or that her actions (such as they were) were going to have a consequence, again, I may have continued.


The ultimate damnation was the lack of story. There wasn't really much going on - Mace relates how her marriage ended (following an affair), her ex-husband's death, how inadequate she feels around her family, especially her sister and mother, how badly her friend dances. Even when there is a spark of something happening, such as the bloke she meets at the gym, it's told with a distance which does the book no favours. 


It does feel a little unfair to give this book one star because it's not actively terrible and the author can write - which I mention because this book is self-published; I spotted one howler of a homophone but that was all. However, the bottom line is that it couldn't sustain my interest to make me want to continue - if there *is* a story here, it didn't kick in until after that point and that's too late for me. 1 star.