Green Muffin Publishing, $1.99
Contemporary Fiction, 2016
The Princess and the Clown is, like its title would explicitly state, the story of Ralph, who makes a living as a clown at children’s parties, and Jules, who dresses up as a princess also for children’s parties. They are both as far from the usual generic hot people that populate romance novels, they smoke, and they are all messed up in the head. When they first meet, at a children’s party, she wastes little time asking him to go down on her – quickly, before they get caught by the kids and their parents.
Hold your excitement, though. Despite being marketed as some kind of “parody” of an “erotica”, I end up wondering what exactly it is parodying. Are the main characters’ age, lack of career success or financial wealth, and far from perfect physique some kind of satire? It’s quite depressing if this is true, as I like the idea of such characters deserving stories of their own, on their merit, rather than just because they exist to lampoon other characters. I’m not sure what the story is parodying, because there is nothing outrageous, campy, or ridiculous in a meta way that obviously corresponds to popular erotica tropes. There is nothing here that screams “parody” to me, unless that word has been used as a shortcut for marketing gimmick the last time that I wasn’t looking at things too closely. As for it being an “erotica”, well, I suppose if you have a fetish for toilet humor, this is hot. Otherwise, eh, I’ve read better.
On its own merit, the story is pretty decently written, but I’m not sure what it wants to be. At times, it seems determined to be some kind of character study, and then, the author adds in scenes of people crapping in their pants in a most farcical manner, before going back to a more sober kind of story about screwed-up people. This one isn’t funny enough to be a comedy, but when it tries to be funny, it creates a jarring moment that clashes with the tone of the rest of the story and pulls me out of it.
Still, I do like the concept of this story, and I always enjoy the idea of two messed-up people getting their freak on. But the characterization is a bit too centered on Ralph to the point that Jules comes off way too often as an unnecessarily combative and even downright unpleasant person. So, why is Ralph constantly holding out for her and letting her treat him like that? Of course, he’s no gem either, but their relationship resembles too much a love-hate thing, only I have no idea why these two would even love and hate in the first place.
As a result, The Princess and the Clown is all about two people being messed-up and frequently outright twatty, but without giving me any insight into why they are the way they are. Hence, I have very little reason to care for them and their story.