by Beverly Brandt, contemporary (2003)
St Martin's Press, $6.50, ISBN 0-312-98422-7
Let me start by saying that this review is especially subjective because the author preaches a set of values that I don't agree with. This set of values is integral to the story, thus preventing me from enjoying this book. My low grade for this book may not apply to readers whose values differ from mine. Having said that, let's get to ripping this book apart.
Katya Morgan starts out a fun heroine. She's rich. She's Paris Hilton, except maybe with a little more restrain. She is spoiled, she has a string of handsome boyfriends, she knows she is gorgeous, and oh, her daddy doesn't love her? So be it, who cares about daddy - hello sweet, sweet life! I like this heroine. I especially love how when faced with a really cruel codicil in her late father's will, she decides to challenge that will. What happens is that her father has disinherited her. Devoid of money, she decides to be sneaky and get back at the lousy cards life dealt her.
But the author naturally never allows Katya to do that. Katya is forced to be a maid in Alex Sheridan's hotel. And because everyone keeps judging her and because the author never lets Katya win even once, in the end Katya is a "better woman", ie one who is just like every other idiot heroine out there.
And truly, this book infuriates me. Yes, Katya has had lovers, the tabloids followed and exaggerated her exploits, but what gives everyone and her mother right to condemn her for it? She had sex, so? Big deal. Give me the money and watch me buy myself a new body and make my way through the men in all two hemispheres. The worst are Alex and Katya's stepmother Jillian, whose hypocrisy rankles the most.
Jillian, of course, tosses Katya to the streets, clear away all of Katya's possessions so that she can't pawn them off for cash, and asks Alex to hire Katya because it is for Katya's own good.
Alex condemns and judges her even as he lusts after her - can we say "sanctimonious hypocrite"? All the while he wants her but says he falls for the wrong woman. Then he decides he loves her, but gets angry with her because I quote on page 280, Katya insists on fighting her late father's will and he feels that she is throwing love away for something selfish. Love means one has to sacrifice, he says. And here I go, uh-huh, Sucker Boy, just what are you sacrificing for Katya? But hey, Alex is good for Katya, it seems, because it's for her own good.
Katya refuses to change for her father who (a) treated her like crap when she was a kid, (b) banished her to boarding schools because he couldn't stand having a reminder of his late wife around her, and (c) acted like a control freak when the daughter gave him the finger, and in this story, Katya is wrong to do that. Daddy's nasty will is for her own good. Because in the end, Katya stops standing up for herself, so now she has virtue, scruples, and now she is worthy of love.
Couple the treatment of Katya with the treatment of another rich young girl in this story and I get this impression that there's not much love in this story for womankind.
In real life, Katya Morgan, spunky, glorious, and wonderfully aware of her worth and not afraid of pursuing some harmless selfish pleasures, this Katya would have given the judgmental freaks in Ms Brandt's narrow sanctimonious world the finger, hitch a ride to New Mexico, and open a colorful cantina. And I will be cheering her all the way. Room Service is just another sad story about Bad Women Who Have Sex And Love To Be Selfish getting humiliated and punished because It's All For Their Own Good. Oh, and Money Is Evil - Money (Not Daddy, Never Daddy) Makes Katya A Sex-Mad Spoiled Nympho. The author also preaches about how the Working Class with their Abiding Need To Serve And Clean is Good. Maybe I'll tell everybody not to buy this book so that Ms Brandt will never leave the Working Class she so obviously loves and never be tainted by Evil Money into forgetting her roots ever. Because the more I turn the pages, the more Room Service comes off like a badly-produced TV Evangelist hour.
To the whole hooey nonsense in this book, this particularly Bad Sexy Woman Who Loves To Be Selfish And Oh Yes, Gimme Gimme More Money says: Bite me.
This book at Amazon.com
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