Mother by Linda Ann Rentschler
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Here it is, The Worst Novel Ever Written. I only read it all the way through as a sort of exercise in endurance, and to see how laughably awful the writing could become. Here's the answer: really, really awful.
Rentschler is the Queen of hyperbolic, cheaply emotional scenes populated by cardboard characters from central casting, described in utterly talentless prose, as they act out plotlines that are so unlikely and/or boring that to read them is to experience a massive die-off of brain cells. You know that completely talentless housewife at the local adult ed writing group? It's Rentschler. No, strike that. That's unfair to the housewife.
I don't know what weird time warp Rentschler lives in, but while her story is supposedly set in the present (the book came out in 2007), her college students listen to their music on "albums" and cassettes (!) with nary a cd or a mp3 to be found. Her two main characters meet at a luncheonette, over cherry Cokes. Wait, it gets better. The grief wall in the student union has pictures of deceased celebrities, but they are all old, like John Lennon, JFK, and Marilyn Monroe. The only "new" name she mentions is River Phoenix! No Kurt Cobain in Rentschler's world.
The whole book seems more like 1957 than 2007. Even while on her big adventure of taking time away from her family to (gasp!) smoke cigarettes and (shock, horror!) stay up past midnight and (facepalm!) have a tarot reading, her main character keeps lapsing into musings about housecleaning and casseroles.
All through this novel, everyone is always bursting into tears, falling down, having conniption fits of wild emotion at the drop of a hat. This includes women, men, everybody. Also, the main character, Mary, relentlessly treats everyone as if they were eight years old. For her son's eighteenth birthday, she and her young friend brainstorm and hit on party hats, noisemakers and cowboy napkins. Then Mary runs out and buys him a puppy! Lord above.
Like I said...Worst. Novel. Ever.
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