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Monday, September 9, 2013

Accidents Happen by Louise Millar

Make no mistake: Accidents Happen is a thriller along the lines of popular movies. I think the American cover is less effective at predicting the book's content than the British one, which shows the woman's face, and she's clearly distressed.

I won't be posting a review of this book anywhere because I can't discern whether a thriller is good or bad. It gets off to a slow start, but about fifty pages in, the reader suddenly learns that one of Kate's unreasonable fears is actually true: there's a man who sneaks into their house! At that point, you know no good can come of the situation, but you're obliged to keep reading to see what does happen! And maybe that's all a thriller needs?

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things to like about this book. But I had to skip over quite a few paragraphs because the author showed us a little too much inside the head of an obsessive-compulsive character. And then, Kate meets Jago, a rugged man who attempts to cure her obsessions with shock therapy, which, from the beginning, includes sketchy, illegal behavior. The end of the book explains why he does it this way. It didn't make a lot of sense to me, but I won't spoil it for those of you reading. It sent mixed messages about Kate's empowerment I wished the book could have acknowledged. All through the book, I wanted to know why Kate puts up with this "cure" that borders on abuse.

Then I saw this analysis about women in fiction (and real life) who want to be saved. It makes the point that when women were kept in the home, they didn't need these recent fantasies about men who come into their lives and take control, because that's what they had in real life! Now, women have to make just as many (or more) decisions as men, and sheesh, it's tiring. Can't someone else step in and take on all these responsibilities once in a while? At least in fiction?

It's something to consider, but looking at my particular case, I have a strong relationship with an equal, and I would honestly like to see more of that in fiction, instead of the struggle for dominance or the willing surrender. Are there any books that assume a healthy balance of power between the sexes and get the plot conflict from some other source?

In this case, Kate's had some true traumas in her past, and in Jago she sees someone who can wipe the slate clean with his crazy methods. Of course, he can't. That would be a fantasy.

Thanks to everyone who participated in last Monday's giveaway with M C Muhlenkamp! I'm sorry to report that there has been a technical glitch with the entries, and no winner has been chosen yet. If you entered, or if you're interested in winning even if you didn't enter, please see this kind note from the author:

Book Giveaway Error
Dear readers and followers, I am not exactly sure what happened to our giveaway entries, but for whatever reason they aren’t showing up in the comment section anymore. I would still love to give away one of the copies of Markram Battles: Genesis of an Uprising to one of you, but I am going to need your help to do it. Please visit this post and re-enter. I am so sorry for this mix up! Hopefully we’ll get this figured out in no time. I will be taking reentries until Friday, September 13th.  For those of you who didn’t get to enter last week, don’t miss out this time around ;-)