So today I got up, got dressed, then told myself as long as I got INTO the gym, I could turn around and leave and get groceries and go home, if I wanted to. Since I didn't burst into flame or become magically surrounded by a pointing-and-mocking mob the instant I stepped in the door, I thought I'd do a few arm weights. It's a start. Sometimes it feels like all I'm ever doing is starting over and over, but I guess that's marginally better than just stopping and never starting again.
A woman approached me in the change room as I was getting ready to leave and asked if I could help her. I was worried that helping her would require some kind of arcane gym knowledge which clearly I do not possess, but she had put on a heavy backpack and all she needed was someone to reach the clips and join them together for her. She was extremely grateful and I was thinking that, when someone asks you to help them in a way that's extremely easy, it's like they're giving you a gift.
Then I came home and finished my second book review assignment. The instructor has encouraged us to be open to trying out genres we don't usually read, so I decided to combine two of those and read a Cowboy Romance. I could have piled even more genres on - there are Cowboy Mystery Romances, Western Christian Romances, Gay Cowboy Romances - probably not Christian Gay Cowboy Romances, I guess - but I thought I'd start simple.
"Be open-minded", I thought. "Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised", I thought.
A Western Romance: Paul Yancey: Taking the High Road (Book 8). So, it's a series. They're ALL called A Western Romance, with a different first name inserted, because they're about a family of NINE BROTHERS, and each book details the pairing up and marrying off of a different brother. I guess for every book that transcends its genre there has to be a whole lot of other books lying there being untranscendedly genre-ish.
|Real actual book cover|
Conscientious but loving? Shouldn't that be conscientious AND loving? Blessed with more money than time to spend on their rambunctious sons? Was that supposed to be the opposite?
"There ain't nothin' like bein' out there, one with nature, fightin' the elements, risin' to every challenge." Dropping every g that threatens to pretty up the end of a word too much...
Paul needs a team to guide him through the Sierra Nevadas, so he settles on Ezra Ferguson and his son, Teddy... damn, Teddy has pretty eyes, and that strawberry blonde hair.. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? Oh, thank God, he has BOOBS. "The twin mounds of a prominent and quite obviously feminine torso", to be exact. "You can't bring a girl up int' that rough country, not when --" Oh, fine, she can come, otherwise how will I I ever fulfill the tediously formulaic requirements of this series, without turning it into a Gay Cowboy Western Romance?
Teddy's fairly kick-ass, actually. Shoots a rabid wolf, slings the heavy saddlebags, and makes a mean campfire cherry cobbler. And Paul? He...DRIES THE DISHES, at one point, which probably would have had Teddy right out of her buckskins except her Paw was right alongside. To be fair, Paul does admire her intelligence, self-reliance, humour and ability to field strip a rifle almost as much as her begging-to-be-explored breasts. But then, just so we don't get any wrong-headed ideas about his manhood, we are assured that "he was a normal red-blooded American male, after all, not some eunuch stuck in an Oriental harem". Ahem. *Checks that the book WAS actually published in 2015*.
All this I could sit comfortably with. It's a western, after all. A western romance. That takes place sometime not too long after the Civil War. But THEN, the whole group is attacked by a bounty hunter who has clear intentions of raping Teddy. She dispatches him with a cast iron frying pan - all good. THEN, as she's about to kick him, her father says "Ain't right t' go kickin' a man when he's already down, though, is it? Haven't I taught you better'n that?" SERIOUSLY? Yeah, I'm out.
The whole thing had this curious way of meandering along in a courtly, old-fashioned vein and then suddenly jabbing you (hee) with a sudden shocking crudeness. The author bio says he was born to a poor family in the Fiji Islands, but "thanks to his own grit, determination and the support of his loving parents, he was able to embark on a journey that has seen him attain a good education and work in many parts of the world", and that he writes "drawing on his experiences in life and emulating the styles of his favorite authors". So maybe he's had some really weird experiences, or maybe he emulates really different authors in quick succession. Or maybe that's just how westerns roll these days, I wouldn't know. This book was certainly not a gateway drug.