Secretly in love with an unattainable gay artist named Peter, Natalie Stathis subtly poisons all Peter's romances with men until Lloyd Hood, a gay survivalist gun shop owner, enters Peter's life. Reprint.
Here is a book in which the only draw is an unlikeable, shallow, mindless and narcissistic main character who has somehow managed to freeze her mental development at the age of twelve and make it as a temporary secretary in Chicago. It has been a long time since I've read a book where I detested the heroine so thoroughly. I've met women who seem suspiciously similar, and could appreciate a satirical novel exploring this type of person, but this isn't it, folks. It's a long slog through a phony, unbelievable story, told with the subtlety of a sledgehammer blow to the head, from the first paragraph about her "cheap" and "gaudy" makeup to a closing Christmas dinner that ties up every plot thread with one copout after another.
The basic tenet of satire is that it must be making fun of reality. 'Fag Hag' makes fun of characters who were born to be made fun of, with so many obvious setups and payoffs that it feels less like a book than a shooting gallery. None of this is funny, or much of anything else except uncomfortable, with a tone so mean-spirited that it dies immediately. The plot is also "satirical," a ludicrous thing involving miraculous inheritances, precocious little girls from the projects, surveillance equipment, kidnapping, and a robbery/break-in which is neither a robbery nor a break-in, for reasons not worth explaining.
I can see what Robert Rodi is going for here, I think. What he is describing is not an unusual phenomenon--a plain girl latching herself onto an attractive gay man, becoming his best friend, and harboring a hidden but painfully obvious hope inside--but a book about such a thing needs sensitivity, whether it's satire or not. No doubt Rodi had inside knowledge and was driven to write about it, but on the basis of the book he might as well have visited a gay bar for five minutes and then pounded this out before going to bed.
Too bad, because with the right approach and style, and a plot we could believe, this might have amounted to something. Instead we have this, a crude, unfunny hate letter of a book. Better luck next time.
Like most of his books, the main characters who are straight are less than admirable, while the gay ones have only a few flaws. But don't let that turn you off - this book is still an amazingly funny work. Very easy to picture everything in your mind, quick page-turner, lots of fun to read.
Natalie loves Peter, She loves hanging out with him, going to clubs, watching movies, and she knows if she can keep breaking up his relationships by subtle sabotage he will one day realize that all of those men can't make him happy, only she can. Read on while she slips farther and farther from reality, especially when Peter meets perhaps the "one". I've enjoyed all of Mr. Rodi's books but for character depth, humor, and re-readability this one is still my favorite.