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Homewrecker, Whore, Slut: My bad reviews


LexyBadGirlMy first Lexy Cooper novel, Schooled, has been out in the world for almost two years. People read it, some like it and some don’t. That’s to be expected. What I’ve been flummoxed by, however, is that when people don’t like my book enough to take the time to write a negative review, they ALWAYS cite Lexy’s sexuality as the reason they didn’t like it. And the fact that these readers seem to be blindsided by the sexual content even though the book description reads “Videogames, Sex, and Murder.” Downloading a book advertising sex as a main component and then complaining about the sex seems to me like reading A Song of Ice and Fire series and being pissed off because you don’t like dragons.

Anyway, check out these quotes from reviews (most are from Schooled, others are from Pwned and Griefed.)

  • “To say the main characters were loose is an understatement. Skip over the sex and stumble over the language it is an excellent read.”
  • “Lexy annoyed me with the way she used her body to get what she wanted. I just cringed a little bit every time she did it.”
  • “Don’t mind casual sex in stories but I dislike adultery the way it is used in this novel. I found it so offensive I stopped reading and skipped to the review.”
  • “A lot more cursing and very casual sex than I enjoy.”
  • “I could of did without the hot double d breasted geek chick. it kind took away from the story.”
  • “the lack of principles was troubling. It didn’t seem to matter who was hurt or how many.”
  • “it’s really hard to root for someone like her because in real life she’d be considered a home wrecking, user and slut.”
  • “The Mystery is really nothing more than a platform for Lexy to hop from bed to bed and sexual situations with mostly attached or married men or use her assets like a whore to get what she wants from weak co-workers. She uses and abuses people without a thought and yet were supposed to like her.”

save your money unless you want some shallow soft core porn

  • “the book also has a ton of graphic sex scenes that are just trashy and none artistic”
  • “All the “hooking up” may be realistic for this age group, but I didn’t think it added a lot to the story.”
  • “loads of gratuitous sex, profanity and just plain drama between Lexy and all the people she was cheating on”
  • “A vast landscape of obscenities, vulgarities, adultery, backstabbing, explicit sex scenes and quid pro quo whoring at work…and that was the “heroine””
  • “a sordid tale of murder, intrigue, and infidelity. A lot of infidelity.”
  • “some of the sex stuff felt like it was a little over the top”
  • “the heroine is pretty busy throughout the book having sex with engaged and married men.”
  • “I was still rooting for him to somehow gut Lexy in one of the rare times her legs were closed.”
  • “the main characters morals are rather lacking”
  • “no matter how well she’s fleshed out or however many details are sprinkled onto her, she’s still an aunty acting like she’s 1.5 times younger than she is. Yikes.”

Let me be very clear here, I appreciate every single person that reads my book and takes the time to review it. Even if they hate it. I’m not angry at these reviewers and don’t harbor ill will.

What I’m interested in here is the slut-shaming dynamic going on. From this evidence, the ONLY reason that people don’t like my books is that Lexy has a lot of sex and she has some of it with a married man. As if that has never happened either in human history or in literature. The guy who said it would have been an excellent read (thanks!) if not for the adultery. Did he also hate Anna Karenina? Had to throw The Great Gatsby across the room? Write a scathing review of Madame Bovary? Burn Ulysses?

SchooledCoverI’ve made it a rule to not explain things to readers. I’ve found over the course of six books that if my editor needs clarification on something, I need to rewrite, not explain. Because I won’t get the chance with readers. But I’m going to break my own rule briefly because this business about Lexy using her body and quid pro quo whoring at work is an issue that keeps cropping up. The scene in question is one with Lexy and her co-worker Josh. She’s under orders to go to the marketing department to scrounge up swag to give away at a midnight game launch. Now, there is quid pro quo, but it happens in Skype. Lexy asks Josh to donate game swag and promises him front page coverage on the web site in exchange. He agrees and she goes to his office to retrieve it. On her way there, I made sure to point out Lexy’s state of mind regarding her friend’s recent murder:

“The sunshine, the beer, and the fact that she was alive while others were not so fortunate had her feeling a bit reckless.”

She goes into Josh’s office (a man that she has some sexual experience with in the past, and is attracted to, and at this point in the book is unaware that he’s recently gotten engaged. In her mind, he is single) Lexy sits on his lap and encourages him to feel her up. They’re playing a game. The “negotiation” for the number of Lock & Load headsets is role playing. Maybe you personally have never engaged in that kind of thing, but many people enjoy it. So, she gets headsets for the fans, but not by doing anything she didn’t want to do with someone she’s not attracted to. If you want to lay down blame in this encounter, put some on Josh, who is engaged to another woman.

Also, people are so offended by Lexy and Nate’s (or Lexy and Josh’s) sexual relationship that they feel they have to stop reading and warn others. Okay, to each his own, I guess. But…you’re not offended by the dead blonde in the creek? The abuse of power? Blackmail? Drugs? Alcoholism? Using an employee’s sexuality to sell product and then punishing her for it? Paying men more than women for the same work? That’s all fine and dandy, but god forbid a woman have sex for pleasure on her own terms?

Anyway, it bothers me, but now I’ve gotten it off my chest. Back to writing Lexy 4. Spoiler: she has ALL THE SEX in this one. If cursing and sex offend you, don’t read my books.

 

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8 thoughts on “Homewrecker, Whore, Slut: My bad reviews

  1. I wasn’t able to fully enjoy Lexy and Josh’s interactions, but that was definitely MY issue, not the book’s. And to be honest I found her relationship with Nate to be quite healthy, at least as healthy as a relationship like that can be. She knew what she wanted from it, and neither party was really lying to each other outright. There was no “oh I’ll leave my wife for you” nonsense from Nate nor was there Lexy guilt-tripping herself over having something she enjoyed. She put the moral responsibility squarely on Nate’s shoulders, as she should have. She went in with her eyes open and was honest about her wants and needs. I loved that. I don’t see that nearly often enough in books, especially where a woman’s sexual agency is involved.

    As for the reviewers mentioned here…like you, I have to wonder how many books these folks have read where the gender roles are switched, and yet they’ve never blinked an eye? How many TV shows? How many movies? Don Draper goes through practically every woman in New York whilst still married to Betty, and yet I’ve heard a multitude of dudes hail him as their “personal hero”. Married men having affairs is about as common in our media and our fiction as dirt is on the ground. 9 times out of 10, it’s not even cast in a negative light, but actually a major character trait to make the man seem “deep” or “tortured”. Not saying I’m against married men (in fiction) having affairs, but to me it seems incredibly hypocritical to condemn a woman for doing the exact same thing so many men engage in.

  2. where can I get this seems to be good reading and I love to read

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  6. jahanpanah on said:

    These books are in my to read pile for a long time, would start them shortly. I was drawn to this series particularly because the main character is a sexually active, promiscuous lady. I like such women in my books I read however I hardly get any, Phryne Fischer being the only other that I know and these books are from Australia. I even tried to look for such heroines in various genres ranging from sci-fi to traditional and contemporary fantasy and there is a serious dearth of such heroines, most that are there are product of 80s, at the peak of feminism and sexual liberation. Makes me assume that the writers in America aren’t interested in such characters, irony is that it’s easy to find such women in real life than in fiction and personally I think it makes sense if a woman who finds herself in constant dangers and her life threatened regularly is into casual relations than a permanent one.

    Though I’m not going to check but I can safely say that most reviews you have quoted who have criticized Lexy for being … slut (hate the term) must have come from other women. This is sad state of affairs, if they cannot respect the choice of a woman whose lifestyle is something they don’t approve, in their fiction then how do they perceive such women in real life? Sorry if it offends but from what I’ve known and have observed is that it is the women themselves who perpetuate the myth of ‘slut’. Perhaps it has something to do how they interact within their group and compete with each other and ostracize someone whom they disapprove.

    • That woukd have been my assumption as well, but what ive seen just from my reviews are that women are most offended by the infidelity, and it is then men–mostly quite young men in late teens early twenties–that disapprove of her having sex on her own terms. When she wants, how she wants, and with whom she wants. I’ve been very surprised! Thank you for your thoughtful feedback! Id love to hear your impressions of Lexy after you read!

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