Jun 27, 2008

Hatfields and McCoys...only of Ireland

So here's the deal. My backyard basically consists of a shitload of trees. Tons of them. And lately they've been falling down fairly randomly onto the major road behind the house. Tonight I guess one of them hit a power line, resulting in a lovely explosion and subsequent call to authorities with chainsaws. Therefore it is late, there are people traipsing around the neighborhood with chainsaws, and I'm not sleeping.

Thus, I thought it the perfect opportunity to lull myself to sleep by reading The Lady, by Anne McCaffrey. Only then it was so boring I found myself angry instead and after reading the first 25 pages, I decided to skip to the last chapter (located on page 447, so I imagine I missed quite a bit). This bored me to tears as well. So I decided to stop entirely and just write a review.

Granted, this is a review after I've read the first few chapters and last chapter of this megalithic waste of space that is called The Lady. So, sure, this probably isn't the best review to look toward for serious criticism of a book (but really, is that what we're here for?), and it sure as hell isn't a recap. Anyway.

They are the Caradynes, who for over 200 years have bred and trained horses of the finest caliber on Coernanagh. But all is not idyllic at hearth and home. Catriona, the youngest child, longs to ride her family's big jumpers and show horses. Her father Michael, recognizes her gift, but her mother hates the very idea. All is in a stalemate until Lady Selina Healy enters their lives, and provides for Catriona and her father a stunning example of how the reins of power can be held by a glorious, fearless woman.
Let it be known that I am not -- NOT -- reading any more stories involving the Irish for at least a year. That said, I will move on to what I know about this book.

Catriona, having possibly the most annoying little mary sue name to pop up in recent memory, is -- you guessed it -- perfect. She lives in a big house somewhere in Ireland and her parents, seemingly having forgotten what they really named her, call her Trina. I find this nickname unacceptable, for various reasons but mainly because they're leaving out the O and frankly if they wanted to call her Trina they just should have named her something else entirely. But I guess Katrina isn't sparkly and super Irish enough. Although had it been Katrina it probably would have been spelled Katryna because it just would have.

Anyway, so they live on this stupidly huge and popular horse farm and their main special stallion is called The Tulip and in the pages I read this mare gives birth to The Tulip's son, who is called the Tulip's Son for the rest of the book. I know this because I read the end. And he's still a foal, which means that the entirety of this book takes place over a course of a few months, and again I find this unacceptable.

So The Tulip's Son is super special and big and is basically Wonder's Champion. Whatever.

Then we discover that Catriona (Trina) can draw without realizing it...and I think right about there is where I lost it with this book. If you're talking to your mother and then turn to your paper and gasp because you realize your hand has been drawing a brush jump SOMETHING is WRONG with you. And I don't think it's because you're a super special mary sue, okay? Just to clear that up.

So Catriona's mom is all disturbed that her daughter's first memory is of her flamboyant crazy ass father-in-law and we soon discover that this woman is frigid and hates it when her husband walks around naked. This is, like, totally not what a good Catholic-raised 40-something woman who's gone through nine pregnancies and six children should have to put up with. She goes out of her way to make sure her prancing around naked husband isn't interested in sex with her at any convenient or inconvenient moment of the day, and she succeeds. I have this suspicion he just goes elsewhere, and having read reviews for the book I know I am completely right. Then she dies. Yay, frigid wife is gone and naked husband can go have sex with The Lady, who is Selina, who's all married and pissed off about it. I assume. Whatever.

I then skipped to the end, where Catriona magically suspects their horses are being terrorized simply because they're, like, galloping in a paddock. She can sense that fun galloping and terrorized galloping are different, so she jumps her pony gallantly over an iron fence (oh, such bravery) and runs down to the part of the paddock she didn't see to discover this rival family trying to either steal or seriously injure The Tulip's Son and his precious mother. Catriona basically holds off all of them...somehow, despite really doing absolutely nothing other than running around on her pony and shouting, before the calvary arrives that basically consists of her dad and two other people armed with whips. Thus the mare and foal go back to grazing because, you know, they're horses and don't really care. Then Selina decides to stay at the farm and have sex with Catriona's father despite still being married to her abusive husband because this is Ireland in 1970 and divorce just doesn't happen in Ireland in 1970. Oh, and Catriona draws a special uber perfect sketch of the Tulip because I guess he died somewhere in the four hundred pages I didn't read. I wonder if she drew it without realizing what her hands were doing? Seriously, she should get that problem checked out.

That's it. I'm not reading any more Anne McCaffrey books (well, I will not attempt to read any other Anne McCaffrey books, anyway). This should be easy as I can't get into any story involving dragons or magical lands, and this appears to be the bulk of her work. Which makes me wonder how this crazy Irish horse story fits in. Actually, no, wait. I don't wonder. I don't care. Plus the chainsaws have ceased and I'm going to bed.


Lei said...

Mmm, yeah. I read The Lady. Course, this was back when I thought Anne wasn't an old batshit (she's nutters, I tell ya, nutters) and thought the Pern books were good (until she went nutters, and Todd started trying to fill her shoes)

Always thought it was interesting how she stuck Robert Evans, or whatever his name is in the book -- the jockey guy who rode her horses or something, and was hit and killed by some bloke in a stolen car.

Claire said...

i remember reading this book during my first trip to europe and being similarly disturbed by it. so i left it in a hotel. i hope the maids liked it.