It was with this in mind that I requested Shot Through The Heart from Netgalley.
STUPID STUPID VOW! This is definitely one I could have ignored!
Welcome to LA, where women nibble their fingers flirtatiously and men get slightly warmer and undo some buttons.
Mia is an actress who is struggling with her fame – she wants to be taken seriously in Hollywood as a proper actress; she is desperate to shake her “First Lady of Love” persona, but has been sucked so far into the L.A. machine that she can’t even leave the gym without putting on a full face of make-up. She nearly boaks when she sees a woman remove a GREY HAIR from her “slug-shaped pubic strip” (what?) and the scene in which she cries is about to be cut from her latest picture.
Mia is a woman in crisis.
British Leo is a cheeky British lad paparazzo from Watford, in Britain, who has a “wonky [British] grin” and a British Bulldog called Watford, as that’s where he’s from, Watford, in Britain. Everyone calls him “Limey” cos he’s in a different country from the one he was born in (which was Britain), its hilarious! (ugh). He has just broken up with his girlfriend and it is unclear whether he cares about this or not (so bloody British of him! Cheeky Watford boy!). He spends his days roaring around the sweltering streets on his bike, trying to get money shots of the rich and famous (Mia being his prime target).
There is also Billy, a closet homosexual whose relevance I didn’t read long enough to learn about.
So far, so blah.
I think I was about 3% in when I figured out what was going to happen, and not just plotwise. I realised this book was going to make me antsy, and I knew I would only ever finish it with a full on rage attack.
I did manage 25% (which I think might become my benchmark stop percent when reading rubbish on the Kindle) and that 25% was made up of some of the most vacuous and borderline racist/misogynistic/stereotyped dirge I have read. It is The Daily Mail Sidebar of Shame in book form.
This book appears to hate women. Mia stars in a film called Lapping it Up; “in which she played a lapdancer with a heart of gold who gives up her dream of becoming a prima ballerina to elope with a customer who tells her he’s a billionaire.”
Sounds great! I wish it was real so I could watch it right now!
Another star, Destiny Diament “a washed-up reality star with a serious prescription drug habit” plans to have “open-air sex” on a beach in order to promote her new discount underwear range.
Yeah you desperate druggie! Get shagging on the beach if you want us to buy those cheap pants of yours!
Massive FFS awards there.
Women are described, among other things, as “generic blondes” and “skanky redheads”. We are reminded constantly that Mia has it all, except of course “a man to share it all with.” Because having stuff you have earned is only worth anything when you can let a man have a go on it all too.
Having a man would be handy though as he would be able to eat all that naughty food that women aren’t allowed. Mia is clearly a binge-eater who struggles a lot with food and this issue is dealt with extremely sensitively.
Of course it’s not.
A woman working in the industry as a costume designer, but who isn’t a size 0, is described as”dumpy“, and because during a break-up she ate some ice cream in front of Mia, she seems to be blamed for Mia’s eating disorder
And minorities don’t come out of this much better: A black girl working at a drive-thru has “large lips that didn’t quite fit together” and two paps discuss a HILARIOUS incident where they “blacked up as refugees in Darfur to snap Angelina Jolie handing out food“. Gay men who aren’t in the closest “mince about” to Britney and Madonna in shiny shorts, and can’t finish a sentence without an exclaim of “girlfriend!” (Cain being gay doesn’t make these caricatures ok).
So, Cain sets this depressing scene out over about 3 chapters. Nothing else really happens other than Billy going out to buy some perfume. When some action finally kicks in it revolves around Leo trying to get a shot of Mia eating a burger.
We are led to believe up to this point that Mia hates the paps; they seem hell-bent on destroying her otherwise perfect life. She goes to great lengths and expense to avoid them. When she discovers she has been photographed by Leo “ramming” food into her mouth she is determined to finally confront one of the vermin that have hounded her for so long.
Leo is all too aware of the trauma he inflicts on his targets, and to give him his dues, he does listens to Mia’s rage for a nano second before becoming surprised to find he thinks its “actually quite sexy“.
That’s right ladies! Stand up for yourself, demand respect and you can guarantee that before you have finished your first sentence the object of your spleen will definitely start to think you fancy him:
“Was he imagining this or was the energy between them tipping over into something else?“
And sure as you like, within a few minutes not even Mia’s burning resentment can stop her from falling for Leo’s bad boy charms, oh those “wonky” Britishsmiles! They’ll get a girl every time:
“For a split second she couldn’t help feeling just a frisson of attraction…Just then she felt her heart flutter“
I put my hands up, I didn’t finish this book, it could have completely turned around by the end. Who knows, maybe it became some kind of satire on Hollywood, so powerfully written that it would have blown my mind apart (having read the promotional stuff from Pan Macmillan, I don’t think it is…).
This book gets 37 Nos and a Ugh.