Hey everyone! Welcome to our stop on the “Truly, Madly, Deadly” blog tour! Today, Ashleigh and I are going to be doing a joint review/discussion of the book, and how we feel about it. Stuff like that. There’s lots to talk about, so let’s not waste any time! Join the discussion after the jump.
USAGI: So…this book. I had some very strong feels about it, to put it lightly. Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we? There was definitely tension on every single page, which is pretty hard to achieve. And that paranoid atmosphere was pretty awesome too.
ASHLEIGH: Agreed on all counts! Jayne is great at getting across Sawyer’s paranoia and developing the mystery of who is stalking her/killing people for her. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when one of Sawyer’s teachers is creeping on her because Jayne writes it so well and Sawyer reacts to it so realistically.
USAGI: Oh yeah, that scene. It was absolutely dead on (pardon the pun) in terms of reaction and general sliminess. Kind of to the point where I had to take a shower after it. Ugh. Slimy. Good thing he’s not much of a problem for long. 😀
However, not all parts of the book were awesome – which is going to be the meat of our discussion. I went into a little of these things in my personal review of the book, but since this is a discussion, I feel that we need to air things out a bit. First, let’s talk about Sawyer’s post-abusive relationship reality, and how that definitely does not align with real reality in terms of how she reacted to advances (other than creeper teacher) from her peers. While I can’t say I’ve ever been in such a relationship (thankfully), I am a product of one, and I know for a fact that when someone gets out of a relationship like that? They’re definitely not ready to make out with or hop right into romance with anyone. Ashleigh, how do you feel about this?
ASHLEIGH: That troubled me too. People who just got out of abusive relationships can cope all sorts of ways, but Sawyer jumping into making out with two guys and pursuing romance right after her abuser died AND someone made it clear they killed him for her sake? For one, it’s out-of-character for who she’s established to be throughout the novel. Trauma like what she went through can make a person act/react very unlike themselves, but Jayne doesn’t quite make it click and it comes off as out-of-character instead of a sign of how badly her ex treated her before his death and how she’s failing to cope with it in the present.
USAGI: Yup. Completely agree on all of these things. (ALL THE THINGS!) She wouldn’t be jumping into romance. She wouldn’t be making out with other bros – she’d be PTSDing it through. She’d be running from them. And she’d be hiding. Or worse. I watched my mother go through it as a kid, and trust me – if she sought out romance, it was for healing and/or protection from a new partner. Not as a guilt-type thing about her abusive ex. But Sawyer’s PTSDing about the night of the accident anyway, so you’re right – this is definitely OOC, and I call shenanigans. Maybe had things been edited once more, things might have lined up a bit better to fit in more with the plot timeline of events and Sawyer’s character?
ASHLEIGH: I think another round of editing might have helped, yeah. That and changing the nature of the romance because it simply doesn’t fit. It’s like a circle shoved into a square peg, in a way. It might have worked better if the guy had a crush on her but she rejected him because she knows she isn’t ready for anything yet. Or if they slowly developed a friendship instead since there are never enough friends to go around when shit like this happens to people. Or even removing the romance altogether! As much as I love Truly, Madly, Deadly, the romantic angle was a serious sticking point. As was the ending.
USAGI: YES, LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT ENDING. PLEASE. I need to get it out of my system. We’re not going to spoil who’s the Depraved Homosexual in the ending, or how, but let’s talk about the trope because it’s the elephant in the room at the end. Really. Guys, I thought we wer done with this in pop culture/books/tv/whatever? Like, I understand it popping up in pulp fiction 50-60 years ago – our culture was different back then, and a lot crueler to those of different sexual identities and preferences. But today? We don’t have that excuse. I was pretty offended by the ending, not gonna lie.
ASHLEIGH: Me too. Removing the homosexual designation from the antagonist would have really helped because if there’s anything we don’t need, it’s yet another gay villain when it’s the only LGBT representation in the novel. Now if they had thought themselves Sawyer’s friend and gone on a killing spree to try and help her, THAT would have been awesome and the creepiest thing I’ve come across in a while. After all, with people who think they’re your friend and kill other people because they think it will make you happy, who needs enemies?
USAGI: EXACTLY. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Why couldn’t we just have an unreliable narrator!Sawyer instead? Nope. The villain had to be gay. WHY. So frustrating. I’m sure the author had her reasons, but I just can’t fathom them. Maybe because I’m just too blinded by rage/offense to see them, not really sure. Otherwise, this book was pretty good. There were some hiccups, but that’s to be expected, I guess…
ASHLEIGH: It really was a good book! My review gave it 3.5 stars and when I posted it to sites that don’t offer half-stars, I rounded it up to four. It’s simply much harder to communicate how well Jayne creates an atmosphere of paranoia, fear, and excitement than it is to put to words how the romance and antagonist do a massive disservice to what could have been an A++, would reread even while slammed with review books kind of book. Whether you want a good book about the experience of being stalked or want to see what we’re talking about when it comes to our criticisms, Truly, Madly, Deadly, is worth picking up.
USAGI: It was! But for the ending alone, I just had to take it down an entire star with my review. Sorry. But that’s just how we feel about it – check out “Truly, Madly, Deadly” – it’s out now from Sourcebooks Fire here NA, other places, check your local bookstores.