As promised, today I read a light, fluffy, mindless book that has no merit whatsoever. And when I think of merit-less books I can't help but think of Danielle Steel.
Here's the description from the back: "Bill Thigpen, writer and producer of the No. 1 daytime TV drama, was so busy watching his career soar that he never noticed his marriage collapse. Now, nine years later, living alone in Hollywood, life is still reasonably sweet. Top-of-the-chart ratings, good-natured casual affairs, and special vacations with his two young sons. His life is in perfect balance. - Adrian Townsend thought she had everything: a job she liked as a TV production assistant and a handsome husband who was a rising star in his own field. It was an enviable life they'd worked hard for - the American Dream. Until she got pregnant. Suddenly all she had was chaos. And Steven's ultimatum. Him or the baby. The question was: did he mean it? - Bill Thigpen and Adrian Townsend collided in a supermarket. And the very sight of her suddenly made him want more in his life... a woman he really loved, a real family again. But did he need the heartache of another man's baby, another man's wife? Neither of them did. But they couldn't help it."
- Is that the most ridiculous plot you've ever heard of? No really, that's a serious question dear readers. I challenge you to find a book with a more ridiculous plot than that - and if you manage it, please let me know what it was. Perhaps we can have a "Who can name the most ridiculous book plot" contest in the comments section.
- I couldn't even make it all the way through the description of this book without laughing. Which is exactly why I knew I had to read it. Danielle Steel novels are the literary (and I use that word rather loosely here) equivalent of bad TV - TV that is so bad that I can't turn away. I start out watching it pretending like I'm watching in spite of the fact that it has no redeeming value - and then quickly come to realize that I'm watching it because it has no redeeming value. The plot of a Danielle Steel novel is guaranteed to be ridiculous, the writing is bad, the characters are annoying - and yet I can't turn away. I feel the same way when I watch Tori & Dean, and The Bachelor, and that one season of The Surreal Life I watched (which I think was my television low-point and the one bad TV show that almost made me feel ashamed for watching it). Well, actually it was two seasons - but I made a clean break of it after that.
- The amusement with this book actually started before I read the description. It started when I was standing in the bookstore asking the woman who owns it where she keeps the Danielle Steel books and she said, "But those are so bad." I agree, they are so bad - so bad they almost loop back around and become good again.
- So the book had already brought me a great deal of fun before I even sat down to read it, and then I turned to the inside cover, where the "Praise for this book" section and felt amused all over again. Some of the quotes were the typical, over-the-top, melodramatic stuff that all books contain - but then I notice the quotes from the two newspapers in Baton Rouge. Neither newspaper could even attempt a white-lie about how good the book was. Here is the "praise" from The Baton Rouge Sun, "One of the world's most popular authors." The Baton Rouge Advocate chimes in with, "Steel's loyal army of readers will welcome Heartbeat." They couldn't even muster up a simple, "Good effort from Danielle Steel" or "Steel's best work to date." Good for you Baton Rouge for holding on to your integrity. Sadly I cannot say the same about the Coalfield Progress which claims the book is, "A poignant, gently humorous novel." Allow me to channel Linda from SNL's Coffee Talk for a moment dear readers, "A book written by Danielle Steel is neither poignant, nor gently humorous, nor a novel. Discuss."
- For those of you who have never read a Danielle Steel book, I'm going to give you a brief glimpse into her writing style. The book is filled with sentences like this: "And then she shook her head again, the long dark hair sailing around her like the dark wings of a fallen angel." (Every time I start to feel bad about making fun of this book on the blog, I think of that sentence and I no longer feel bad. Anyone who writes a sentence like that deserves to be mocked. They're just asking for it.)
And, so you can all enjoy the fun of a Danielle Steel novel, without having to wade through 400 pages of ridiculous plot points, here's Steel's wikipedia page - which reads like a condensed version of one of her books. I've you've ever read one of her books I think you'll agree.
And if you've never read one of her books - put down whatever boring, serious, worthwhile book you're reading right now and go buy one. I insist.