Hate Book Club: Grinding in Greenville

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This was probably my favorite edition of Hate Book Club yet! I challenged Brian to read a romance novel set in Texas, while I had to read one set in North Carolina. He definitely got the better end of this deal as far as choice is concerned (Here’s his review!). There is really no end to the amount of torrid cowboy romance even in my local branch library. Meanwhile, most of the choices I found involved divorced women going to the Outer Banks to learn how to love again from humble fishermen. Pffffff no. So for the first time I turned to Amazon instead of the library, and actually paid $0.99 for this sucker.

The cover lets you know exactly what you're getting into

The cover lets you know exactly what you’re getting into

As always with Hate Book Club, I was forced to think of three good things to say about this book. They are:

1. I learned where Greenville, NC is

It's only an hour and a half from me

It’s only an hour and a half from me

2. This book is hella short

It’s only 182 pages, which is like a third of the length of Brian’s. He tried to make me feel guilty about this but we picked our own books, Brian, it’s not my fault you’re bad at it

3. The really problematic attitude towards rape is after most people have probably given up

Even though the book is short, I would guess that most readers would give up before page 156, when the most disturbing scene takes place, which basically says that rape is okay as long as you have an orgasm. Romance novels glorifying sexual abuse is sadly nothing new, but I was surprised this one decided to go that extra step and address the rarely-talked-about fact that some women experience arousal or orgasm during sexual assault. Although this is actually a common experience, it’s often ignored because it makes victims ashamed and can (stupidly) cloud issues of consent in a society that already victim blames too much. THE FACT THAT BODIES RESPOND A CERTAIN WAY DOES NOT MAKE THIS LESS OF A CRIME. Since that apparently needs to be said. I remain hopeful that other people were turned away by the multiple grammatical errors and terrible writing way before encountering this horrible message.

The Plot

Grinding in Greenville follows three BFFs: Marley, Tori, and Hayley through their love/sex adventures, especially centered around a romance novel convention in Greenville. These book conventions (the book opens at another one in Raleigh) sound kind of insane:

The Readers Romp in Raleigh was an author signing hosted by a book blog that apparently read, reviewed, and pimped out authors they loved… Bloggers (fan girls, as some called themselves) were the worst mothers-of-the-bride on the planet. They didn’t want to be next to the author they were originally beside because ‘she stole my storyline,’ or the’bitch copied my cover,’ or ‘that whore stole my model.’ (1)

Besides crazy authors, they are full of ridiculous fans:

“Name is Red, can you guess why?… Red room. Christian Grey is mine and no other bitch around here can have him!” (17)

And also the male models from the cover art for the fans to hit on all weekend.

Marley grew up on a hippie sex commune, and after catching her first One True Love getting it on with her mom, has sworn off love to protect her heart. But after a one-night stand with a hot male model at a Raleigh book convention… is she ready for SOMETHING MORE? Nope, because facebook stalking him reveals that he has a kid, which apparently is a total turn-off:

Apparently he was recently divorced and had a kid?… Now as big Daddy was licking the meat taco I would be thinking about him wiping some snot nosed kid’s little snotty nose. (48)

“Cute kid and all but I’m not banging a daddy.” (136)

Sorry, single dads. Marley cannot touch a hand that has also touched child snot. Because germs.

Tori/Victoria has the perfect rich sorority girl life until her ONE NIGHT of partying gets her pregnant, because of course. This plot point is, of course, treated with 19th century levels of drama:

I have brought shame to my family (41)

GASP AN UNWED MOTHER HOW SCANDALOUS! Luckily, the frat guy knows he must “do the right thing” and fake an ongoing relationship with her before quickly getting engaged and married. He decides this is going to happen without giving her a choice, and seems completely annoyed when she doesn’t immediately start acting like his fiance should:

“I have expectations, needs, that my wife will be expected to fulfill.” (43)

I mean, I already knocked you up, what else could go wrong? Tragically, right after asking her father’s permission to marry her, her parents are killed in a sudden car accident! So she marries him and spends the rest of their marriage till the book starts feeling that she killed her parents with premartial sex. They almost divorce, but then find love together through a boring Internet catfishing scheme.

Finally, there’s Hayley. She grew up in a trailer with a literal crackwhore mother (where have I heard that tragic backstory before?) and a little brother who manages to hang himself from a tree outside at nine years old. Luckily, she is able to use the power of education (with the help of an inspiring English teacher, of course) to hoist herself out of poverty and into college… where she drops out senior year to marry a rich, older lawyer to live off of?? And is shocked when this ends terribly??

Hayley’s story is definitely the worst/best. Despite her husband’s condescending objections, she opens a coffee shop, mostly run by a long-suffering woman who is clearly underpaid:

She was an amazing pastry chef, never formally trained so she worked for just above minimum wage. (29)

I dont’ know why the book adds these details, while still wanting me to sympathize with Hayley? Oh, you pay your chef $8 an hour instead of $7.25, what a generous employer?? Go away.

After her husband cheats on her, Hayley goes on a sexual odyssey to finally discover what she has been missing. This involves (1) a hot lawyer who OH NO has the smallest penis ever, in a scene that is condescending to both men and women equally, and then (2) a sketchy alley encounter with a stranger who immediately forces himself on her with no prior discussion. But it’s okay, because apparently she’s cool with it?

I should be screaming, telling him to stop, he was being extremely rough with me, but I couldn’t because the pull of desire between my legs far exceeded my ability to react the way I knew I should. (157)

Despite orgasming from the experience, Hayley is naturally upset after it’s over. Marley counsels her that it’s fine because “Most people go a lifetime without ever having the kind of sex that rocks them so hard the aftershock rapes their emotions” (160).

no

The Writing

I mean, yeah, this book could have used some copy editing. But that didn’t take away from the central ridiculousness that is language use in a romance novel. You’ve got your basic hilarious (and sometimes incorrect) word choice:

His hand moved up under my skirt as his baby blues blazed… Our tongues fought for control and he growled into my mouth. (18)

His rock hard rod was perfect. (19)

I awoke to his hand cascading down my stomach (21)

And sometimes the oddly clinical:

…and then heat accumulate in my vaginal area. (64)

The North Carolinaness

If I had to rate this book on my arbitrary Scale of North Carolinaness, it would look something like this:

Right around our award for "Most Puppy Mills in the US"

Right around our award for “Most Puppy Mills in the US”

Because it sure does have our name all over it, but we don’t really want to claim it.

The Terrible Life Examples

Besides the most egregious crimes listed above, we’ve also got:

“We could always become lesbians. I’m hot, you’re hot.” (74)

Because sexual identity is a choice you make. When you’re disappointed with someone, you should probably just boycott their whole gender and switch.

“It means if I can’t have you, I want to destroy all those who took my place… I want to crush the people you care for.” (89)

This is healthy and romantic, not terrifying.

What a selfish bitch I am. A selfish, drunk bitch who was gonna be raped and murdered. I hated wine! (125)

This is the perfect quote to leave you with. And the perfect gif for this book:

stop

Don’t forget to read Brian’s review of his Texas romance novel!

Previously:
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

3 responses to “Hate Book Club: Grinding in Greenville”

  1. fkjhhglkjdsh this book sounds HORRENDOUS

    Awesome review, though!

  2. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    JAMES K. POLK IS AWESOME YOU TAKE PRIDE IN HIM RIGHT NOW

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