Nightshade Collections, $0.99
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Dee Tenorio’s Another Man’s Treasure is actually part of a collection of 10 full-length books called Curved Lines. As you can probably tell from the name of the series and the cover, all stories here are connected by theme: tattooed hot ladies falling for chubby heroes. Kidding, kidding – as if we’d extend the concept of body shape acceptance to men. Sorry, dudes, it’s still no abs, no honey. No, this series is about tattooed alpha dudes and their chubby, er, curvy ladies. Anyway, I’m reviewing each story as individual books because I don’t have the time or stamina to read through and review all of them in one go.
From the first page, this one makes its agenda pretty clear. Ari Cooper rolls up her eyes at a bunch of beautiful, blonde trophy wives who constantly work out to stay in shape, and calls their husbands “superficial”. These women, conveniently enough, are viperous heifers who openly mocks Ari for being dowdy and eeuw, when inside, Ari knows that she is smarter and classier than all of them. Thank goodness the Academy Award-winning hot actor Tonio Vasquez understands that real men are deep and true enough to realize that every overweight woman is actually a beautiful soul inside, compared to all those nasty skinny heifers, and he is also thoughtful to stay hot, rich, and loaded enough so that our non-superficial curvy heroines will never have to settle for a mere man who’d grow a paunch, lose his hair, or grow wrinkly.
To Tonio, Ari is the most beautiful woman, ever, and it gets better for Ari because he wants her, instead of that skinny blonde bitch whom her ex-husband cheated on her with. Their daughters bond and become BFFs forever, so by the last page of this book, this is all about the kilos coming up triumphant over the skinny twigs of the land.
Look, I could lose a few pounds myself. Okay, not “a few”, maybe a bit more than a few, ahem. But there is nothing like Another Man’s Treasure to actually make me feel embarrassed about my extra kilos, because (a) I am squarely within the heavyweight demographic that may find stories like this one a nice kind of vicarious escape but (b) this one reeks way too much like some revenge porn of the bitter, thwarted chub bus brigade on all the beautiful, thin women that that I’m supposed to resent and blame for the inadequacies in my life. The very idea that I am supposed to be this insecure and jealous to find pleasure in such a fantasy – now, that is embarrassing and cringe-inducing.
If I can stop cringing each time I turn the pages, I’d find that the chemistry is pretty decent, and the kids are alright. Although that last part may be due to the fact that I cringe far more at the whole fatty-squashes-the-twiggies thing in this story. If the author had toned down the cartoonish equation of thin to nasty skankiness, the hypocrisy of preaching body shape acceptance of women (while forcing the men to still conform to the very standards of beauty that we supposedly disparage) would not stand out so much. If the whole “Fat is beautiful, so let’s shed tears of joy as this hot and conventionally sexy hunk manfully shags our heroine – how how we fat cows desperately wish that we are Ari!” thing is dialled down and the author had allowed this story to be a more down to earth love story, I may have liked this one so much more.
But it is what it is, so there’s that. I suppose this one could and would be another reader’s treasure, but me, I’d rather grow fat and happy without being reminded that I need to be this insecure and jealous about other women who are thinner and more popular than me. If I want to be them, I’d have to make changes to my diet and lifestyle, which is… unreasonably tedious to me, so I’d just settle for being as fabulous and healthy as I can be in the form that I am in. Thus, Another Man’s Treasure is trying to pander to the feelings and thoughts I do not happen to have at this moment in time, and the way it beats me in the head with its agenda is decidedly unfun.