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August 2013 Releases

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[REVIEW] The Forbidden Heart – V. C. Andrews

V. C. Andrews
The Forbidden Heart (Forbidden, Book 1.5 [novella])
Simon & Schuster Pocket Star (US & CA: 12th August 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

It was free, okay? Auto-approved on Edelweiss, and I did love reading this author as a teen. Now an old lady in my mid-to-late-twenties, I just don’t know – have these books always been this bad, or are they worsening? I’m thinking the latter.

Emmie is an American teen living in Paris with her gay uncle and his partner. She befriends a waitress, and gets into the pants of her (the waitress’) cousin. A seemingly inoffensive story…

WRONG!

Cultural stereotypes ahoy: supposedly the French are big on food and wine, and Americans are prudes. Seriously? But believe it or not, these stereotypes aren’t the worst.

The constant and ever-present fat-shaming. EVERY CHAPTER. Almost every page. Denise is a fat waitress who’s overeaten all her life because she’s miserable, and she fancies her ridiculously good-looking cousin. (Because fat chicks are into incest?) Emmie, meanwhile, is a fabulously slim and beautiful American who offers Denise diet and exercise help. Because losing weight will cheer her, and make her cousin fancy her? What the hell? With this constant fat-shaming, it’s no surprise that someone attempts suicide…

But it’s not Denise – it’s her mother. Emmie blames Denise for blaming her mother for all her problems. Crikey, with an attitude like that, it wouldn’t shock anyone if she tried to kill herself because her daughter’s fat…

And thus I really would not recommend this novella. Offensive on so many levels. And just plain dodgy storytelling overall.