This book sucked. I was going to try and write a professional blog post about it, but physically cannot do that. I would not recommend this book to my worst enemy, unless it was to see someone’s reaction to the truly horrible plot and execution of this storyline.
The story opens with Dolores Price and her parents who get a black and white TV when Dolores is three. The novel follows Dolores from there, through her early childhood into adulthood. Warning: spoilers ahead, but you really shouldn’t worry because I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU READ THIS BOOK.
Dolores becomes overweight in her early teen years, whether because of her parents’ divorce, her obsession with TV, or her rape by an upstairs neighbor, it is unclear. Dolores takes hit after hit and nothing seems to ever go right for her. First her parents get a divorce, next her mother has a nervous breakdown and has to be institutionalized, then she has to go live with her grandma, then she is raped by an upstairs neighbor, and finally her mother is killed in a freak accident.
I would not have liked this book if it was written by a woman, only because it seemed to be written in poor taste, if nothing else. BUT, this book was written by a man, which really irritated me. To be fair though, I was probably reading the lecturing tone into the book because I knew it was a man writing.
My main issue with this book was the fragmented storyline. Dolores leaves college after about one month and drives up to Cape Cod to see the beached whales. She takes a swim with the one dead whale and is subsequently rescued by a search crew that has gone out in search of her and sent to a mental institution for seven years. SEVEN YEARS. This part made no sense to me. It becomes obvious later in the novel that she did not admit to them that she was trying to drown herself in the ocean, so what makes them hospitalize her for seven years?
My second main issue with this book was the relationship between Dolores and her husband, Dante. This book could have turned itself around after her stint in the mental hospital. I was fully ready to embrace the book if Dolores got herself together and went off into a semi-normal life after staying in the hospital. But NO, she goes off and chases down her old roommate’s ex-boyfriend and starts to date him (the first real crazy thing she does the entire novel).
When Dante turns out to be a jerk, Dolores just goes with it, doing whatever he wants. When she gets pregnant, he makes her get an abortion and she doesn’t even leave him when she finds he has been sleeping with one of his high school students.
Dolores is just a lightning rod for bad luck. Also, is the message in the end supposed to be that TV is the root of all evil? Or that men are? I don’t get it.