The New Year is off to a bad book start

Happy New Year, Readers! Hope your 2016 is filled with happiness, adventure, and loads of good books. Thanks for following this blog. 2015 was a bit sporadic with posts, but I am hoping to do better in the new year.

So far, I am not off to the best start with my Netgalley picks, the first of which is Playing by the Book by S. Chris Shirley.

As I have mentioned before, I have a rule that if I am not completely hooked by the 50th page, then I toss the book in the Did Not Finish pile and grab another one. There are too many good books in this world to waste time on one that doesn’t hold my interest.

Unfortunately with Playing By the Book, I didn’t even make it to the 50th page. The main character, Jake, is so brainwashed by his religion that both his internal and external dialogue are offensive. No one who is 17 years old is this ignorant about social norms, kissing, sex, and how his narrow-minded religion would come off to LGBT people. Furthermore, the characters are total clichés. Jake’s preacher father is the overbearing family ruler whose word is law. His mother is the meek mouse counterpart. There’s a crazy aunt in the mix, and Jake is the country bumpkin who goes to the big city and is overwhelmed by all these sophisticated folk. No joke, when he meets his turban-wearing roommate Raj, his thought is, “I’d never seen a real live Muslim before.” As opposed to a fake dead Muslim?” Come on! There is sheltered and then there is this unbelievable character. And not to get on a soapbox, but turbans are not worn only by Muslims and do not always indicate a religious affiliation. Numerous religions and cultures wear turbans for different purposes. His reaction was just too much of a  “dumb, uncultured hick” stereotype for me to tolerate.

Then began the “hey, I’m attracted to a fellow student who is also a guy. I am such a filthy sinner. I better get out my engraved bible and read it until my soul is clean again.” Excuse while I choke on all the sanctimonious hypocrisy spewing from this guy’s stream of consciousness.

Jake’s ignorance was unbearable! In the end (or should I say the beginning since I didn’t make it anywhere near the end), I just couldn’t take all the preaching and bible thumping. Tossing this one on the DNF pile and reaching for another book.


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