Cranky Book Rant: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid


WARNING: This is not a book review. This book made me very cranky and I quit a quarter of the way through. As part of my pledge to write about everything I read, even the reading fails, I had to write something. Nothing positive, fair, well-balanced, or even well-thought out lies ahead.

One of my weaknesses as a reader is that I can be a hyper-critical, snarky grammar nerd. My inner editor/proofreader has ruined dozens of perfectly serviceable books by pointing out all the typos and poor writing. Because this tendency often leaves a cranky, dissatisfied reader and because the spelling/grammar/proofing in my own writing leaves much to be desired, this is something I’ve been trying to reign in. I don’t always succeed.

Man… this book. Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid had it all. Grammatical errors. Typos. Stilted dialogue. Flat characterization. Awkward, stilted prose. All show, no tell. A creepy stalker-ish Alpha hero (a thing I’ve been known to be into!) who ORDERS THE HEROINE’S MEALS FOR HER (sorry for the caps, it’s pet peeve). Completely implausible scenarios bearing no relationship to reality (apparently being good at adding numbers plus having a degree in architecture qualifies you as an accountant!). Hell, it had Club Outrageous, the Rainforest Cafe of nightclubs (don’t get me started).

And then we have our heroine: Janie Morris. Janie is going through a tough time having lost her job, boyfriend, and home in one fell swoop. Our author wants you know that Janie is smart, quirky, funny, and a little neurotic, but hey, aren’t we all? This is a heroine I’ve read and enjoyed before (Hi Bridget Jones! Hear you have a new movie coming out. Yes. That was just an excuse to post a link to pictures of Colin Firth). This time, not so much. Let me take you on a whistlestop tour of why Janie drove me mad.

You see, Janie is a special flower who has the deep, quirky thoughts of a very high 8th grader:

Did the real world actually exist if every one only interacted via cell phones? Would Angry Birds one day become my reality? Was I the unsuspecting pig or the exploding bird? These Descartes based musings rarely made me popular at parties.

The above is part of her rationalization for not having a cell phone, which doesn’t make her quirky or unique, it makes her a pain in the ass to have in your life. Also, on behalf of the 21st century, I am sorry Descartes.

Janie knows big words and isn’t afraid to use them (sometimes incorrectly):

The lack of information available left me feeling pensive and unprepared for the interview.

I’m pretty sure she’s not “engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought.” Grumbles.

More big words, this time to help us understand the toll of her struggles with self-esteem:

My thoughts were a black cloud of grumpiness at my maladroit personality disorder and gargantuan features

Janie is smart because she knows a lot of trivia and is good at adding. Just disregard the fact that she signs contracts without reading them and doesn’t seem to care too much when she’s drugged at a nightclub and wakes up in a strange place the next morning.

I could go on, but I think I’ve snarked enough. This book irked.

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