The Misconception
by Darlene Gardner, contemporary (2002)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52481-3

I can't do this. As a retired scientist, I did not come this far just to read about my fellow female scientists being mocked in such unthinking manner by romance authors. Yes, this is another romance where the scientist is the one resembling the village idiot the most. But anyone reading this, please: we female researchers are not castrating, agnostic, unthinking, idiotic, brainless morons. We may not have much of a life, being wrapped up in our work and all, but our male colleagues do that too, and you don't call them nasty names now, do you?

Marietta Dalrymple is an anthropologist specializing in evolution. As a result, she doesn't believe that men are by nature monogamous. But her biological clock is ticking loudly, and she knows she must have a baby NOW or die. Yes, millenniums of human evolution means that we human beings act primarily on instincts set by our forefathers, unaffected by social norms, environment, and education. It's a pity evolution has our middle digits shortening over time, because what I wouldn't give to thrust a gorilla-length middle finger up in the air as a response to this insulting drivel.

So what does our heroine do? Well, apparently in Darlene Gardner's world, there is no sperm bank in Chicago. You poor Chicago folks, you. Do you have Burger King there, though? Burger Kings are very important. Anyway, Marietta therefore selects a candidate from a list of suitable folks - memo to Ms Gardner: qualified geneticists and anthropologists should know by now that eugenics don't work and poor Lamarck was so, so wrong - and asks him to come over and impregnate her. By having sex with her.

Instead of being raped and stabbed and featured in the front page as the latest in a serial killer's list of victims, our heroine gets impregnated by wrestler Jax Jackson's super sperm. In romance novels like this one, it always takes just once to succeed. Cut to two months later, where nice Jax wants to marry her. Her answer? No. No. No. Because men are incapable of fidelity. Look at her sister's ex-husband! (Memo to Ms Gardner: any sample pool numbering less than ten correlating samples in a scientific research is just unacceptable.)

And so she goes, this Marietta. Whine, whine, whine, whine.

I'm insulted, really. I'd like to say that this story may be more acceptable to readers who have no idea how modern fertility methods work, but at this day and age, I'll be insulting almost everybody out there by saying that. How about readers with higher threshold for disbelief? That may be misconstrued as me saying "more gullible dimwits will love this book".

So I'll just say this: make your own decision. There are already several glowing reviews of this book out there, and no doubt I'm just another "unbalanced, unhinged" nitwit trying to be contrary as usual, et cetera. My final thought is this: some ideas, concocted in the early hours of Puedro's Tequila Ticky-Tack Havana, should be left behind with the tequila glass. This is the twenty-first century, Ms Gardner - you may want to try catching up a little.

Rating: 45

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