Our next book is The Klone and I by Danielle Steel. The blurb on the back cover says the following:
“After thirteen years of marriage and two kids, Stephanie was devastated when her husband left her for a younger woman. Suddenly she was alone. Then a spur-of-the-moment trip to Paris changed everything.
Peter Baker was a handsome high-tech entrepreneur also visiting the city. Stephanie was certain it couldn’t possibly work. But much to her amazement, he contacted her when they returned to New York. And Stephanie embarked on a bizarre and hilarious adventure beyond her wildest dreams.
Shy, serious Peter, chairman of a bionic enterprise was supposed to be away on business. Instead, he’s standing at her door, wearing satin and rhinestones. Naturally, Stephanie thinks it’s a joke-until the truth suddenly dawns: this isn’t Peter playing a role. This is his double! Calling himself Paul Klone, this wild, uninhibited creature isn’t even remotely like Peter except for his identically sexy good looks. This uproarious novel explores the outrageous love triangle that develops between Stephanie, Peter… and The Klone.
In a wickedly funny, right-on-target look at finding the perfect mate in an imperfect world, bestselling novelist Danielle Steel reveals insights into the human heart that have made her novels #1 bestsellers around the world.”
Before we dig into Chapter One, I didn’t go into this book expecting a work of great depth or to be comparing it to Shakespeare or Chaucer. However, this novel is just so incredibly outrageous that it managed to disappoint my even my very low expectations.
This entire chapter is about her husband of 13 years telling her he doesn’t love her anymore and their subsequent divorce. So, light and fluffy stuff, right? And for the most part, this section isn’t all that impressive or all that terrible. Until you come to sentences like this:
“Responsibility was, my kids were, being Roger’s wife was important to me.” What the hell does that even mean? Is she trying to say that being responsible, taking care of her kids, and being Roger’s wife are important to her? Because that’s not the way to say that…
The next thing that really annoyed me was the fact that she refers to her dead grandfather (who left her a huge trust fund which we’ll touch on later) as Umpa. Which, according to a quick Google search and a run through the Google Translate function, is not the word for grandfather in any human language. So, unless he earned the large sum of money he left her by working for Willy Wonka, this is just annoying.
She also comments about that her husband “had great legs”. Is this something women judge men on? I understand appreciating a man’s butt, arms, chest, and facial features. But his legs? Most men’s legs that I’ve seen look like legs with hair… but maybe I haven’t seen the right kind of legs? Can someone help me understand what makes an attractive male leg?
And back to Umpa’s (you have no idea how much pain it causes me to type that) trust fund. The narrator’s husband is basically a tool who can’t keep a job, so they live off of her inheritance. And she says, “My trust fund hadn’t run out, and shouldn’t for both our lifetimes,” which is impressive as they live in NYC, seem to have expensive lodgings, clothing, etc., and her husband is unable to hold down a job. Keep this in mind. It will come up again.
Here is where it really gets awful. Her husband told her he didn’t love her anymore. Maybe he never had. He doesn’t say it had anything to do with her. And her immediate thought about why he was leaving was that she hadn’t keep herself as maintained as she should have. But, she wants to make sure we know that she wasn’t, like, a troll or anything. “Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely disgusting, nor am I covered with fur, nor do I have a mustache.” And a few sentences later, “I wasn’t fat or anything”. Because if she had been any of those things it would be entirely respectable for him to walk out on his 13 year marriage and two kids. Make a mental note of that ladies, being covered in fur, being fat, and having a mustache are now viable causes for divorce. This continues a few pages later where she comments “thank God I still shaved my underarms, or he’d have left years before”. What kind of shallow, superficial asshat did you marry? I mean, really, I’m not advocating that women completely stop caring about their appearance when they’re married with young children. But, holy hell, I highly doubt the reason you’re husband is leaving you is because you don’t shave your legs very often. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s because you’re a shallow, inane, annoying woman who thinks the world revolves around you.
Now that her husband has left her, she’s taking a new lease on life. She’s “accepting whatever invitations came my way”, which makes me wonder how much time she’s spending with her 12 year old and 6 year old who have just had their family torn apart. And her ex husband has a new girlfriend. I quote, “There was no male equivalent to Roger’s friend, the person Sam and Charlie [her kids] now called Miss Bimbo”. Her son is 6 years old. Is it really appropriate for a 6 year old to be calling someone a bimbo? Should he even know that word at that stage? A 12 year old shouldn’t be saying it either, as its highly disrespectful, especially towards an adult. And the whole thing just reeks of inappropriateness. And the narrator, their mother, never corrects them or discourages them from calling their dad’s new girlfriend (soon to be wife) a derogatory name.
Next, Stephanie, our trusty narrator, offers us insight into her divorce. “I had more or less come to understand why he had left, although I hated Roger for his lack of charity. I had put up with his lack of business acumen, why couldn’t he have been more tolerant about the way I looked?” First of all, business acumen and beauty are not really comparable things. Secondly, I still firmly believe he didn’t leave she because of how she looked (unless she married someone as shallow as herself). Thirdly, she made this abundantly clear a few pages back. Does Danielle Steel think we weren’t able to catch that before? Do we really need to be bashed over the head with the fact that she thinks her husband left her because she hadn’t looked good enough (though remember, she wasn’t fat or hairy)?
Now, at the beginning of this horrid chapter, as her husband was telling her he was leaving, she’d had a bit of blueberry stuck in her teeth which she hadn’t noticed until later. Why this is significant, I never really figured out. But at the very end of the chapter, as she’s describing the growth she’s undergone she says, “Even the blueberry muffin [the blueberry bit was from a muffin she’d eaten] was a dim memory by then”. Now, based on the sequence and verb tense, we are to assume Stephanie is telling this story from some time well after the events took place, it’s not stream of consciousness or present tense. So, I went back and counted. For something that has become a “dim memory” she mentions it 5 times not including the quote above. For me, something that “dim” and so insignificant would not warrant 5 mentions. So, I’m having trouble believing the things she’s saying.
A couple of last points. This woman has an obsession with nightgowns. In this chapter alone the word “nightgown” appears 15 times. In 25 pages. I’ll keep up this count, because I have a feeling it won’t end here…
Secondly, we’ve now gone 25 pages in what is billed as a romance novel and we have yet to have any sex or romance. Which is kind of disappointing.
Thirdly, the narrator is annoying me so incredibly much I don’t know how I’m going to be able to deal with her for a full book. She seems to be incredibly superficial and her dealings with her kids thus far are suspect.
Well, look for the next chapter’s recap coming soon!