I originally rated this 1 star but have since decided that 0.5 stars better reflects my feelings about the book.
Publication Date: August 10, 2015
Max is a pretty typical suburban mom. With 4 kids, 2 pets, a house and family to take care of, there isn't really much excitement to her daily life.
Until a sex tape she made with her husband gets leaked online. Suddenly, the paparazzi are following her everywhere and everyone in the neighborhood is giving her nasty looks. Overnight, Max becomes known as the Suburban Sex Goddess.
But then her marriage begins to fall apart, leading her family to slowly divide too. And when the man who broke her heart over 20 years ago comes back, Max's life is in for the biggest change it will ever have to go through.
I've talked about this before in other reviews, and I think it's a bit of a pattern when it comes to e-ARCS. I seem to always read a good book, and then 2-3 not-so-great books before getting into another good book. It's a trend I really want to break, mostly because it's annoying and discouraging. And here, it has happened again. I really didn't like this book, and I realized that within the first chapter.
You know, for a book that I really didn't like, this was really easy to get through. Maybe it's the contemporary element to it, but something made it super easy to read, even though I wasn't enjoying myself.
First of all, let's just talk about the premise of the book. It sounds really interesting, and I was really looking forward to seeing how Max would react to all the new things being thrown at her in life. For me, it wasn't about relating to her (not exactly possible because of the age difference and all that), but it was to see how she handled the situation and find out if I could learn anything from that. And I did learn some stuff, the main thing I learned is to NEVER film a sex tape, NO MATTER WHAT. It doesn't matter if you and your partner consented, it doesn't matter if you both promised that it won't be shown to anyone else, it doesn't matter if it's a one-time-thing, DON'T DO IT. There is absolutely ZERO guarantee that you will be able to keep the video a secret from everyone you know and that someone won't eventually find out about it. As it can be seen in this book, it will always surface in some way. And having deal with the repercussions will make you wish you never made the video in the first place.
When it came down to the sex tape being put online, I honestly didn't care. I felt like it wasn't far-fetched. It happens a lot. How do you think Kim Kardashian got famous? It certainly wasn't because she had any sort of talent. So when Max found out that the video was online, all I could think was, "Really? You didn't see this coming?" and proceed to roll my eyes at her for the rest of the book.
It's really weird, but I chose to write this down in my notes. It's the fact that Max still uses Internet Explorer....why? I mean, does anyone use that anymore? I thought that it was so widely known to be a terrible browser that everyone stopped using it. And for some reason, Max was using it on a laptop that is probably pretty up-to-date, in our modern society. Also, for some reason, she and her husband both still used Hotmail, which I'm also pretty sure no one uses anymore. Am I wrong about this?
Throughout the book, I noticed that there were several things which were mentioned a few times, then never brought up again. For one, the fact that Max is apparently Jewish and sends her sons to "Jewish school." I'm like 95% sure that "Jewish school" isn't the proper term that the author is looking for. If anything, it's simply a synagogue that teaches about Jewish culture and the Hebrew language. I even took to Google to find out about this, and the closest thing that I can find is a Jewish day school, which provides both secular and Jewish education for Jewish kids in the same school day. And that doesn't sound like what Max was sending her sons to. Oh, and we never hear about it again after it was mentioned about 6 times in the span of a few pages.
Another thing that is never mentioned again after the first time is that Max is Italian. We only find out about this when we're almost halfway through the book, and it's never brought up again. There is no other indication of her Italian roots, nor does it play any kind of role in the book. It just shows up and disappears.
When I was about 3 chapters into the book (the book only has 9 chapters), I knew that I was completely over it and didn't care anymore. Nothing interested me about the book at that point. The plot became incredibly dull, the characters only served to irritate me, and I understood why it had such low ratings on Goodreads.
My frustration with the book grew more and more as it progressed. Mostly because of the characters, but also because of the direction the plot was going in. For a really long time, the plot circled around the same thing, Max's husband cheating on her and her not being okay with it. Fair enough, it was traumatic, but did the book seriously need to keep going back to that? It's like we never escaped from the hole of doom that was Max's love life.
When the sex tape is released online, Max gains this kind of fame that can only be described as unrealistic and ridiculous. In fact, another review on Goodreads pointed this out before I realized that I agreed with that. Why is Max suddenly so famous after her naked butt is all over the Internet? In fact, another good question to raise is why the video became so famous anyways. I'm sure there are plenty of other sex tapes out there and other pornographic videos floating around online, but for some reason, Max's video went so viral that Oprah talked about it. I don't get it. There was no basis for the video to go viral. The reasoning that the author used wasn't even sound. It made no sense.
One thing that frustrated me a lot is that no one ever said anything about the fact that Max's husband, Nick, was also in the video. Not a single character in the book blamed him. None of their peers thought that Nick was to share equal blame, they all just focused on Max. Isn't that kind of stupid? Nick was the one with the video in the first place, and he was also having an affair, so why wasn't he criticized for his behavior? It seemed that everyone who knew about the video thought that Nick was completely blame-free and that he did no wrong. So, I guess this is just teaching us that no one will think you're wrong for having an affair and not doing anything about an online sex video that you took?
And let's just discuss the affair for a moment. THERE IS NO FREAKING BASIS FOR THE AFFAIR EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT NICK IS A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING WHO USED SEX ADDICTION AS AN EXCUSE FOR THE FACT THAT HE CAN'T KEEP IT IN HIS PANTS. Nick's excuse of sex addiction is never brought up again (oh look, again with that trend), which means that we never find out if he's actually addicted to sex or not, and somehow it's just okay that there was never an explanation as to why he cheated in the first place.
I'll admit it now that apart from Max's sons, Trevor and Sam, I don't like anyone else in the book. They were all annoying and one-dimensional.
There was a scene, about halfway through the book, that I thought was incredibly inappropriate for a mother of 4 kids. Okay, actually, the fact that Max is a mother often surprises me, because she DOES NOT act like an adult. And if you've followed this blog for awhile, you'll know how much of a problem I have with characters who don't act their age. It makes me want to do horrifically violent things to them.
Oh, the romance was stupid. If you could even call it a romance. Basically, anything that qualifies as "romance" in this book is actually people being incredibly horny and unable to quench a desire for sex. All attraction is based on sex and whether or not their partner is good in bed. Not to mention that each adult character has very inappropriate fantasies or sexual behavior at one point or another. What I got from this book is that all that matters in a relationship is sex and good looks. Screw the rest. Or just have sex with everything. Doesn't matter, it's all pretty much the same in this book.
AND, we NEED to talk about how cheating is so normal in this book. Max has been cheated on 3 times and every adult character seems to have no problem thinking about being unfaithful if their relationships get tough. Great example to set for your kids. Great lesson to teach. Who cares about being faithful, it's all about what your sexual desires need anyways.
The ending wasn't anything special. If anything, it was rushed, and as a result, made no logical sense. It was predictable, and by that time, I just didn't care. Everyone could have burned or gotten blown up and I still wouldn't have cared.
I know that Max was the victim, but it didn't matter. I blamed and despised her anyways. She showed no strength throughout the whole book, was incredibly indecisive, fluctuated between so many thoughts and emotions that I completely lost track, and persistently lived in a fantasy world that she created in her head. I know that I'm not supposed to blame the victim, but honestly, everything can be traced back to the fact that Max lets one little thing affect her entire life and steer it in wild directions.
Max constantly lived in a fantasy that only existed in her head, which was made up of the most unrealistic situations possible, and a lot of sexual fantasies.
OKAY LET ME JUST PUT IT THIS WAY, I don't care about any of the characters. NONE of them should have been allowed to have kids in the first place. I personally think they should all just be killed off. But that's just me being so frustrated with everyone and everything that I'm resorting to excessively violent thoughts in order to cope with the stupidity.
0.5 stars. Don't read this. Just don't. I know that this review has been mostly a rant, but that's just what the book brought out of me. If I had a physical copy of it, the book would have been thoroughly destroyed by now. The violence that I've talked about in this review may seem unnecessary, but it's the only way I know how to deal with this book.
Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this on your site. Thank you also to Booktrope for approving my request to read this in exchange for an honest review.