December 14, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: Wrapped Up in You by Carole Matthews

Hello Book Clubbers! I can't believe this is the final book club of the year. As I also mentioned in the last book club post, this will also be the last book club for the next few months. With baby arriving in two weeks, I don't want to over commit myself until I get into the groove of managing my time with a toddler and a newborn. I like to think I'll still find time to read, but who knows! Hopefully we can pick back up in the spring though! I want to thank each and every one of you who has supported this little online book club. It means the world to me that you wanted to be a part of this and participated in the discussions. The only thing I love more than actually reading, is sharing that love of reading with other people. So thank you, thank you!
On that note, I also feel like I need to apologize for ending this book club with such a bust of a book! All I wanted was to read something light and fun and Christmassy, and this book was none of those things for me. (Maybe I also need to apologize right now to those that read this but loved it!) I know when it comes to a book club it's often a gamble on whether the book will be good or not, but I do take responsibility for this since I put a lot of work into selecting what I think will be good books to vote on. This book has pretty darn good reviews on Goodreads and was listed under several different "Christmas Themed Books" book lists, so I'm not sure what happened. Oh well, as much as I would have loved to end this with a bang, I'm hoping we can all have a good laugh at it instead!

OK quick reminder: if you're new to book club, this is a place for discussion, more than a review, so spoilers are aplenty. But, with that being said, I don't think this book can really be spoiled, haha. I also want to say, I don't take pleasure in rating a book poorly or bashing it, but there are so many things I disliked about this book that I can't help myself. Please forgive me.

Quick synopsis: Wrapped Up in You is the story of Janie, a 35 year old single hairdresser who lives alone with her cat. She's recently split up with her long term boyfriend whom she's pretty sure she wasn't actually ever in love with. She's given up on ever meeting anyone and is completely oblivious to the fact that her handsome and kind neighbour, Mike, is totally smitten for her. Janie is then set up on a blind date from hell by her best friend (and co-worker), Nina. Except this guy won't take no for an answer and continues to stalk Janie. Around the same time, Janie's ex tells her he's getting married and having a baby. So Janie does what any sane woman would do, and blows all her life savings on a week long trip on an African Safari after a client of hers leaves her a brochure on it. Oh, and this trip takes place over Christmas. In Africa, Janie falls in love with her "Maasai Warrior/safari guide", and when she returns to England, she is hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to be with him. Forever.
Here's what drove me nuts about this book:

  • Janie's complete obliviousness to the fact that her neighbour and good friend, Mike, liked her. And that she used him whenever she was feeling lonely or needed something done for her.
  • The whole bit with the bad blind date. I don't believe for a minute that Lewis, the most self-centred, annoying man I have ever read about, would continue to beat down Janie's door to try to convince her that they were meant to be together. But OK, let's say she happened to go on a date with the one crazy guy in her small town. Am I really supposed to believe that Janie believed her going to Africa for a week was what he needed to finally get the picture that she wasn't interested? 
  • I definitely can buy that Janie was attracted to and lusted after Dominic, the Maasai Warrior she meets in Africa. I even buy that she would sleep with him. I mean, what happens on vacation stays on vacation, right? Wrong! This isn't just a little holiday fling. Janie AND Dominic both profess their love to each other at the end of the week. OK, so I can see a woman getting a little wrapped up in such a lust, but I don't buy that Dominic would be so quick to fall in love. He's built and spent his whole like in a tiny village in Africa as a warrior and has standards and beliefs he follows to a T. He spends his time working on these safari's and this is the first time he's fallen head over heals with one of his clients?
  • Oh but wait! Dominic has Facebook! He only has to walk 10 miles to get to the nearest computer though, so Janie and Dominic can totally continue their long distance romance. Easy peasy. 
  • How does someone as primitive as Dominic (I mean, he only needs a few hours of sleep at a time, has wrestled lions in the flesh, survives on only fermented milk mixed with the blood of his cattle, and lives in a small village), also be somewhat educated (he speaks pretty darn good English and clearly knows his way around a computer)?! 
  • I just can't accept that Dominic would so willingly jump on an airplane and leave his family and life behind to be with Janie. What do they talk about?! Love is one thing, but is that enough to sustain a relationship especially when one person is being completely removed from their life as they know it? 
  • I found their whole relationship uncomfortable. Dominic was just portrayed as her protector and lover, and all he ever asked her was "are you happy?" 
  • And for the love of god, if I had a dollar for every time Janie referred to Dominic as "her lover" I would have more than enough money to pay Becky back for actually having to purchase this book. Gag me.
  • I honestly didn't like any of the characters except for Mike. He was the only normal one, but I felt bad that he was wasting all his time and energy on Janie. 
  • Dominic was a pro-snowboarder his first time ever on one. Riiiiiight.
  • When Dominic runs away at the end of the book, he becomes a hero and everyone likes him now because he attacked a mugger to get an old woman's purse back. Would this story really make headline news?! 
  • Why oh why did this book need to be over 400 pages long?! What was even the plot? 
  • I feel so duped by this book. The cover is so misleading...with the wintery landscape and the caption "Will Janie bring home true love this Christmas?" Nope, nope, nope. Not a Christmas (or wintery) book AT ALL. 
OK, phew! I needed to get those things off my chest. I know I left some things out. You guys can remind me of what I missed in the comments, haha! Or maybe you liked this book (sorry for dissing it in that case) and you can let me know why! 

No questions this go around. I just want to hear what you thought about it...if you agree with my bullet points...if I missed any major issues with the book...and/or what did/didn't work for you with this book. 

Again, thanks to every one who has participated in book club this past year! Even thought we didn't go out with a bang, I hope there will still be interest to pick this back up in the spring some time. In the event that you have a post on this book you want to link up, I've included a link up below. Happy reading!

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