Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kevin’s Story

Kevin’s Story by Adrienne Staff and Sally Goldenbaum *

A modern-day romance written in 1986. Wow, this has to be one of the worst books ever written. Seriously, it’s on a level of the worst online fan fiction. Even though the hero is deaf, and there is no miracle cure, and there are a lot of sex scenes, Devo Girl still can’t give this more than one star. A girl has to have some standards, right? So why is it so bad? For one thing, it's horribly dated. For another, the authors ask us to believe that Kansas City is home to the privileged, elite, jetsetters, and that Kevin, who owns and manages a cookie factory, has a glamorous, desirable career. The heroine, Suzy, is somehow going to launch her own brilliant career by becoming the spokesmodel for Kevin’s Kookies, and … yeah, I could not keep reading. A book, unlike a movie, can be set anywhere. If you want to tell a story about impossibly beautiful and wealthy people, why not set it in New York or LA, with lawyers or something? Don’t try to convince me that the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce annual reception is the social event of the season. Later on they appear on the Today Show to be interviewed by  Jane Pauley. Wow, that’s some cookie factory! The idiocy continues: Kevin somehow lost his hearing in a car accident. A car accident? Is that at all likely? Wouldn’t he be more likely to have an SCI or TBI? Kevin’s factory workers are all deaf, but the management (except him) are all hearing. It’s taken for granted that deaf people ought to work on the factory floor because the noise doesn’t bother them. Suzy reveals that she knows ASL because she had a deaf friend in high school, and somehow, after a few false starts, she’s instantly completely fluent. The authors spend a little bit of time at the beginning explaining how ASL works, but otherwise their depiction is not realistic. For instance, they make it seem like ASL is exactly like spoken English, which is not true. The frequent sex scenes are equally unrealistic and laughable, even for a romance. Within the first few pages, when Suzy auditions for her spokesmodel job, she decides that rather than her own clothes, she would look best in a Kevin’s Kookies t-shirt, so she changes in his office, and whoops! he sees her naked. Not long after, as they go for a drive together in his cookie van, they pull a blanket out of the back, and go have sex in a public park. In the middle of the city. In the middle of the day. Now you know why romance novels have a reason, however contrived, of keeping the hero and heroine apart as long as possible. Without that, there’s really no story, and no reason to keep reading.

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