Review of "Mother"

MotherMother 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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ellen abbott said…
how the hell did she get it published?
Unknown said…
how did you come upon such a book?
Well, all i can say is, don't read fifty shades, or there'll be a new champion.
cinderkeys said…
how the hell did she get it published?

Self-published. I verified by looking up the publisher (it's Booksurge), but the cover was a dead giveaway.

I scanned a page or two. Pretty bad. But I've worked in self-publishing for almost a decade now and I've seen worse. Much worse. At least this author knows how to string the various parts of a sentence together and bothered to pay for copyediting.

(I coulda made her a better cover. Just sayin'.)
cinderkeys said…
Oh yeah ... The question I wanted to ask: How the heck did you even find this book, Shay? Because I know for damn sure they weren't prominently displaying copies of it at Barnes and Noble. :)
Fireblossom said…
Ellen--by threatening to unleash it in the water supply if her demands were not met? I wondered the same thing from start to finish. Then again, Nicholas Sparks keeps getting published...

Rene--it has been sitting on my shelf for ages. I needed a new book to read and didn't have a special one in mind, so I grabbed it and took it to work with me to read during lunch and breaks, as I always do. I knew by page 2 that it was a stinker, but I had no other book with me. Then it was started and couldn't be stopped, sort of like throwing up.

Far Beyond--there is no chance that i will read Fifty Shades. Others have ridden by and warned me already!

Cinderkeys--I would have sworn that I got it from Literary Guild. One thing is certain; I didn't buy it at the store cos I would have read the beginning and not bought it. But it is a five year old book and I am just not sure.
Fireblossom said…
PS--@ made me curious, so I grabbed it out of the trash long enough to find out that my copy was published by Madison Park Press.
HermanTurnip said…
What the?! And here I thought it took talent to get published. *sigh* Shoot me now...
Mama Zen said…
Darling, if you're to have any future in reviewing, you simply must stop censoring yourself and learn to express an opinion!
hedgewitch said…
I was going to say, tell us how you really feel, but someone beat me to that punchline. I don't read much in this sort of genre--for my escapism fix,I like mysteries and historical romance, (but not the really cheesy ones which are every bit as terrifyingly awful as what you describe here, only in costumes) so I would never happen on this book in a sane moment--but now I'm protected during the less sane ones as well. Thank you for saving me. It was a selfless act.
Cloudia said…
But what do you REALLY think?


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Anonymous said…
I third MZ.

We have one of these at our public library: "local adult ed writing group" ... I have been asked to join several times (wish I had never told anyone from church that I write a little bit). I politely decline each time. But I confess, it would be really funny to go if I didn't have to worry about censoring myself.
Daryl said…
Thanks for taking the bullet for the rest of the reading blog world
Sara said…
Remind me to never send you my book, if I ever get one published! I agree with Cloudia..."say what you really think!"

Actually, I loved the comments. They made laugh almost more than your review.

I guarantee I will avoid this book. Self-publishing has its downfalls. You can say you were published, but those words to often carry an empty promise.
cinderkeys said…
Yeppers. If you tell someone at a self-publishing company that you expect to hit the New York Times bestseller list and they act like that's a reasonable goal? Go elsewhere. The good people will tell you how much work/quality it takes to even recoup your investment.

I still can't believe the original edition was traditionally published. My little mind is blown.

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