There is not often a time in which i have to stop reading a book because of its utter ridiculousness. I’m rather tolerant of many things in novels, because after all, it’s just fiction. For example i have happily enjoyed the story-lines of the Fifty Shades Of Grey series because i can separate that extravagant story from real life. That is the beauty of fiction, none of it is real. However Skin Deep by Lauren Jarrett is one of the few books i’ve found so disgusting that i’ve had to stop reading mid way.
I picked up Skin Deep towards the beginning of the year very very cheap. I’d seen it around in Waterstones, thought the story sounded promising and decided to go for it. During the year my attention span wavered with the novel and i decided to include it in my ‘unhaul’ that i posted about just a few weeks ago. However someone on Twitter told me they really enjoyed the novel and i should give it a chance. So i did. I started reading it last week and went in with no expectations.
What i got was a badly written, rushed story that was quite frankly offensive. As i previously said, i don’t mind a bit of sexism in novels, because it is fiction. I can handle it when it’s done (dare i say) ‘tastefully’.
Skin Deep is about a young girl called Jenna who is badly injured in a car accident. Her best friend tragically dies, however she is left with a scar across her face. Understandably this then becomes her biggest insecurity. Ryan moves around a lot with his mother on the boat in which he lives. He meets Jenna and i can presume in the end they become friends or more (i did only get 100 pages in before giving up).
To start with, i could deal with the writing as i was in the mood for something that was YA and easy reading. A trash book if i’m honest. However my alarm bells started ringing when i read that Ryan was just sixteen and Jenna a mere fourteen. First impressions of Ryan are that of an attractive young guy, who’s quite self confident. He also never wears a shirt, this fact annoyed me more than anything.
As the 100 pages i read progressed, Ryan and Jenna met a few times and had started to get along. Fair enough, that’s how i expected the story to go. However, once i hit page 90, my respect for Ryan completely went away. As did my respect for the writer for writing this utter crap. Ryan became a self obsessed, disgusting old man.
There is a scene in which Ryan is on a date with his bosses daughter. Previously she is described as an attractive girl, who obviously knows what she wants. There are parts to previous scenes i won’t get in to, but they are very very unrealistic indeed. All i could think was that this novel is for young adults and is the worst example of real life i’ve ever read. To top that off, i read the most frustrating anti-feminist sentence i’ve had the displeasure to read in a novel.
She walked ahead, letting me get a good view of her legs and i didn’t waste the opportunity. Her tits weren’t that big. It looked like she had one of those push-up bras on, the kind that leave you disappointed when they come off.
I could not believe i was reading the supposed opinion of a sixteen year old boy. This absolutely vile opinion of a woman’s body is disgraceful and should not be taught to younger adults. Young girls will be reading this story and be influenced with what is said.
Body positivity and confidence should be spread high and wide, low, far and in every direction for everyone. Everything that followed in this novel was tainted with the idea that a woman’s body is there to please a man. And more over, this man was sixteen and extremely sexualised another young girls body. This is nothing short of wrong.
I stopped reading at the end of this page, i didn’t want to know how it was going to continue because it made me sick what i had already read. Nothing of this sort should be written in to books that are read by children. Because that’s what under 16’s are. The story had so much potential to be brilliant and inspiring. However all i got was a perverted teenage boy who never ever seemed to wear a shirt.
There are plenty more books out there that are similar and give a very disappointing and unrealistic view of real life. It’s a shame i wasted so much of my time on one of them.