Sometimes I have this habit of checking out books from the library that I know I am going to hate. I don't know why that is... I guess it's my masochistic side that gets the better of me. But sometimes I find books that look really stupid and I know they are going to be stupid, but I check them out anyway because I hope it's going to be a fun stupid (if that made sense to you then you are awesome). That was the case with Dumb Love by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson. I checked it out because, well, when I was putting another book back on the shelf, this one fell off it. I picked it up off the floor and said to myself, "This looks stupid... but fun." So, long story short, I brought it home with me. Unfortunately, it wasn't fun at all. I cannot tell you how many times I thought I was going to have to stop reading it because of how... disgusting it was. It was vulgar, annoying, and stupid. The only reason why I didn't want to stop reading it was because of how short it was (being only 163 pages), and if I couldn't finish a book that short no matter how annoying it may be, then I can't consider myself a badass reader (Shhh! Don't question my logic!). Well, I finished it. I accomplished my goal! Was it worth it? No. BUT! I can now say I read it and lost about 72% of my IQ in the process! That's something, right?
What is this book about? Ugh... do I have to tell you? Oh, I suppose I do, don't I? After all, this is a review... you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't curious, I suppose.
In the town of Brewerton (I think it's in New York, I could be wrong), a girl named Carlotta puts herself through a whole lot of mishaps because she's an idiot. She tries her hardest to woo some guy that has no interest in her, makes friends with a girl who treats her like crap, and assumes the worst in people because she is a close-minded little twit, all whilst trying to write the perfect "alien/horror/western/religious/comedy/please-shoot-me romance" that will be a best seller one day. Little does she know that her own stupidity will lead to so much of... nothing. That's basically what this book is about. Nothing. Well, she does get a boyfriend in the end. I guess that's something. Spoiler Alert: It's not the guy she was pining after. Like you couldn't guess that from page one. -_-"
Okay. I am aware that this book wasn't meant to be a "masterpiece" and I am aware that Johnson intended to make this into a funny book. But that's my problem with the book. It wasn't funny. Sure she made jabs at stupid teenagers falling in love but, to me, that's not funny. Reading about a bunch of girls talking about having a penis shoved up their hooch is NOT funny. It's disgusting and tasteless. Going into this, I expected to have some form of satire of young love and how ridiculous it truly is. Not read about some girl who was stupid just to be stupid whilst her friend talks about every guy she slept with. The main "point" to the novel was for Carlotta to hook up with the guy of her dreams and prevent her mother from going back to her abusive father who cheated on her about as many times you hear the birds chirp in the morning. But by the end? What? Nothing. That's what. No seriously. Nothing happens. Carlotta was kind of irrelevant to the entire "plot" since everything manages to resolve itself without her interference. And I suppose that's the whole point. To teach people that things will work out whether you do something about it or not... but I am not too keen on that type of lesson. I believe in hard work. And if you want something done, you should work hard for it... as long as you're not a complete and utter moron. Unlike our main character. So maybe this was a good moral to the story. "Don't do anything, you stupid idiot! You'll only make things worse!"
The writing wasn't even that great! It felt very juvenile and it kept taking me out of the wonderful experience of the book (maybe that wasn't such a bad thing). It was simple enough to follow but it wasn't out of this world. There was no imagination to the writing! I could see the scenes clearly in my head, sure, but there was no spark! Everything felt dull. Boring. I wanted more to the writing and I did not get that. There should have been more descriptions to the city, how tall the buildings were, the sounds of the animals (or lack thereof), the screeching of the idiots doing it in the house over (actually... don't do that last one), etc. But there was hardly anything of the sort. Once again, I know this is not that type of book, but it would have at least brought more life to the story!
Don't even get me started on the characters! God, were they annoying! As I've made it clear earlier in the review, Carlotta is an idiot. She has this habit of jumping to conclusions without trying to find out what is really going on. There's this one part where she conjures up the idea that the guy she likes got his ex-girlfriend pregnant. Why!? For what purpose!? Because she was too stupid, too jealous, and too bloody blind to try and figure out what was REALLY going on between the two characters. She also had this overbearing "confidence" that made me want to shove her into a ditch somewhere. Carlotta is a bit on the chubby side and, although I appreciate the fact that she felt comfortable in her skin, she made it sound like if you were a size four or under it was a bad thing! How is that any different than people calling heavier people "fat?" She really had a bad habit of calling thin people names and that thin people couldn't really "please" a man because of the lack of boobs. That is ignorant and childish! Not to mention insulting. Speaking of insulting, I won't even begin to tell you how she uses the Italian language (the Italian people!) in such an offensive manner. Not all Italians are overweight, Carlotta! DX I just found her completely annoying and couldn't stand her one bit throughout the entire book.
That's not to say I like any other character! Carlotta's rival (and best friend), Andrea, treated Carlotta like crap (calling her names, stealing her boyfriend, the list goes on) and still has the audacity to say she did it to protect Carlotta from looking like a fool in front of the guy she likes. Bullshit! You don't go around calling your "best friend" names and stealing the guy she likes in an attempt to "help her." Go jump in a river, Andrea. -_-" Walker, another dude from Carlotta's school, is another douche. He kinda has a thing for her, but he shows it in the most disgusting way. Making out with other girls, calling her names, etc. Pete, dude Carlotta likes, it boring and has horrible taste in women. NEXT! Bernice is a moron. Shredding her "good-girl" image to piss off her folks for getting a divorce. That's not going to work, girl. Lettigo!
The only character I kind of, sort of, liked was Franklin Thomas. He's Carlotta's step-father with an alcohol addiction. Throughout the entire book, he is trying to get sober. And he manages to stay clean, which is great. People make mistakes and they sometimes go down the wrong path so I am not upset with him for that. I am quite glad that he took the necessary steps to become sober. In doing so, he managed to find himself a good job with decent pay, is able to take care of Carlotta better, and is just overall doing well for himself and his family (even though Carlotta's mother is a bit of a floozy, she became a better person because of Franklin). Now, here's my problem with him. Even though he takes real good care of Carlotta and is always looking out for her and showing her a father's love, he made it a point to remind everyone (including the reader) that he wasn't Carlotta's real father. A couple of times throughout the book, someone mistook Carlotta for his actual daughter and, time and time again, he says that he's not. It annoyed the crap out of me. What should it matter that you are not related by blood? You are assuming the role as her father so why don't you consider yourself to be her father? It's just a cold reminder to her that her real father ran off with one of his many girlfriends he cheated on her mother with! DX Like I said, I am glad he is trying to become a better person... but he not being able to call himself her father pissed me off.
ALL THIS RAMBLING COMES DOWN TO THIS: Dumb Love is terrible. The pacing is horrendous, the writing mediocre, the characters annoying as hell, and the plot completely predictable (no really, I figured out what was going to happen by page 31). This is not a book you should go out of your way to read unless you really have to... or you're into self-torment. I will say this, after 100 pages, you DO get used to the tone of the book and it becomes a bit (and I do mean a bit) less painful so... there's that. Still, try to avoid it if you can. It really isn't worth your having your brain turned to mush.