Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7338-0
Contemporary Romance, 2002
Alright, confess, New Yorkers: just what did you do to make Karen White so bitter? Did you tar and feather her, strip her naked, force her to sit on an ugly cow, and then jeer her all the way to Palookaville? Whatever it is you do, can you send me a video recording? It must one helluva thing, because boy, the author isn’t just mad at New York, she demonizes it. If you are those readers who firmly believe that career women are the downfall of human civilization, city life is one of sin and amoral depravity, and it is fine to rip apart a person because he or she is from the city, boy, you will love Karen White’s Falling Home.
Words cannot describe the amazingly over-the-top hypocrisy and jingoism of this story. The people of small town Walton, Georgia have no concept of privacy – every one of their neighbors’ antics are fair game for judgement and condemnation – and they are so narrow-minded that it takes the heroine actually compromising all her values to the local bachelor to get her accepted by them.
The heroine, Cassie Madison, spends so much time making apologies for even daring to move out to New York and having a career, it’s very insulting if you ask me. Can you blame her for moving out after her boyfriend and her sister elope together, leaving her stranded with her ring and wedding gown? Well, her father believes so, and he has the nerve to castigate her one last time before he dies. At the same time, her sister, the boyfriend-stealing bitch, is now dying too, and she and her shameless husband, who see no problem in what they did, want her to stay here and take care of husband and the kids. They have the nerve, truly, and if I were Cassie, you can bet that Walton will burn before the night is out.
But Cassie is honored! At last, her family accepts her and loves her! But Sam Parker, the small-town doctor, isn’t happy, because Cassie is a New Yorker and she has a New Yorker boyfriend. He must drive her away! And after he has the hots for her, makes her stay! And castigates and insults and rips her personality apart because she’s a New Yorker, and he is backed by an orchestra of psycho old women and old men who use their age as an excuse to act like KKK members gone Broadway on crack.
And in this book’s New York, that place is a moral wasteland. Homeless people wander around the streets of New York, helpless and dying, while in Walton, they take care of their own. They just hate outsiders in Walton. There is no crime in Walton, unlike New York, no doubt because in Walton, they probably murder any kid of different race, color, or creed before these pariahs reach the age of three to do anything evil and nasty like having individual thoughts. And naturally, the Walton natives don’t like women beautifying themselves either, they also hate imported cars and stuff, they don’t like rich men (capitalism = bad), but at the same time, they read romance novels because of the sex scenes in them. I still have nightmares over these lusty, loud, psychotic bigots – they are definitely procreating, so God help us all. It’s the night of the living dead all over again.
Now, Karen White can write – make no mistake. It’s just too bad that she lets her unreasonable parochial inner self run amok all over this story, insulting me beyond belief. In fact, I’ve never been this insulted all my life, and I’m not even a New Yorker. Maybe she’s catering to the extreme fundamentalist reader type who cling to this belief that extremely narrow small-town life is the best. Is there such a big market for this kind of books? If Ms White really wants to hit it big in that niche, I suggest she hit the radio talk show circuit instead of torturing me with books like Falling Home.