on March 7, 2003
The premise of this book sounded great. It appeared to be a light, entertaining read. Then I read it... well most of it and then I put it in the GARAGE SALE PILE. The plot is predictable without any twists or diversions. Not only are the characters flat, most are ridiculuously unhealthy. The majority of the main character's (Tracie's) advice on how to get women is demeaning and juvenile. She actually encourages her male friend to be emotionally abusive as if it is charming. You just can't believe how she tells him to treat his dates! She tells him to be condescending,critical and demeaning. Everything from judging what they eat to hitting on other women when he's on a date. SHe encourages him to make women doubt themselves and it will keep them coming back for more. And in the process of giving her "friend" advice she shreds him apart as if he offers no endearing qualities at all. She's terribly mean! And all the while she is in the depths of a nowhere relationship with a complete loser. And she's content with the dumb, not deep, cheating, and manipulative "artist" because the (...) is good. Even dialogue is weak and forced. Uh, I could go on and on but this book isn't even worth the time. A DEFINATE BOOK TO AVOID!!
on July 18, 2002
I was attracted to the cover of this book as it sat on the New Fiction shelf at the library where I work. After reading the description, I should have known better, but decided to broaden my horizons and do a little "beach reading". After the first 3 chapters, I wanted to put the book down. Tracie was obnoxious, juvenile and I had an impossible time believing that she was out of high school. Do grown women actually act like this? I've never met one so completely, frustratingly moronic. Jon- talk about a one-dimensional character. Gosh, a computer nerd who works 80 hours a week and hasn't gotten laid since the Reagan administration- how unique.
Their relationship was implausible, as was their dialogue, their jobs, their friends, etc etc etc.
After a few more chapters, I kept groaning to my husband who said, "Just put it down. Give up!" But I never put a book down. This should have been a first.
I was disturbed by Jon's bed hopping. Given the fact that all Tracie's friends/ Jon's conquests knew about each other, could EVERY SINGLE ONE have been so taken in by "Jonny"'s amazing charms that they didn't care???? Could all of them have been so repulsively spineless and brainless that they couldn't have a backbone and be a real woman and get a REAL man?
There were absolutely no likeable characters, the plotline was straight out of a bad 80s movie (and apparently another book!) and the errors were glaring. Worst part is, if you read the acknowledgements Goldsmith actually thanks someone for the info on Seattle "hot spots".
Ugh. My first book by Goldsmith and it would take some strong convincing to get me to pick up another. I will be recommending to everyone I know- if you must read this book, get it at the library: the fact that it's free dampens the pain.
on March 5, 2002
As someone who has enjoyed previous Goldsmith novels, I was seriously appalled and disappointed by this one. Others have written much about why it disappoints, so I'll try not to repeat all of those observations.
However, I must reiterate the most glaring error in a book filled with errors (that reader review was written long enough ago that it's probably not read much now):
Jon (who is being made over by Tracie from geek to hottie) goes to the SEATTLE-TACOMA airport to practice hitting on women (which is an odd choice to begin with). He reads the arrivals board and notices a flight has come in from...Tacoma! How miraculous.
Really, all an editor would have had to do is look at a map, for crying out loud, to see that Tacoma and Seattle are too close together to fly from one to the other (and might have even found out that they share an airport). Not that Goldsmith couldn't have done so herself and saved the editor the trouble...There are numerous other Seattle-related mistakes, but that's the most preventable, unforgivable and ridiculous.
Also worth repeating: Everything about the "newsroom" (fluffroom is more like it) was wrong, wrong, wrong. No respectable editor tells his/her reporter to include "as many advertisers as possible" in her story, no matter how fluffy that story may be. (Note I am talking about respectable newspapers. For all I know it may happen unapologetically at some "shopper"-type rags, but I haven't spent any time at those -- just in real newsrooms.)
Another thing: When sexual harrassment occurs in this day and age, it's a little more subtle. Heck, people even get in trouble for the subtle stuff some of the time! No one who acted in the manner of Tracie's boss would last a week in a job like that. And even if he did, Tracie and her co-workers would be idiots not to sue him. But I guess depicting a sleazy boss with enough subtlety to make him believable might have required some effort -- and this book has "toss-off" written all over it.
This book is so annoyingly bad that it doesn't even qualify as a "fun read." A few mildly amusing scenes do not a fun read make. Save your money and send the publishing world a message.
on July 29, 2001
I brought this book with me to the beach to read this weekend. Instead of whiling away the afternoon engrossed in its pages, I was enraged that I had been "taken" by such a trite, uncreative attempt at writing, especially by someone who in the past has shown extreme talent.
This book trys so hard to be hip and yet it fails miserably. Its almost as if Ms. Goldsmith is trying to cash in on all the readers of books about young singles such as Bridget Jones, Confessions of a Shopaholic or Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married. However, the differences between this book and those was that the others were GOOD! And they were probably good because the authors knew what they were writing about and were closer in age to their heroines. They had their fingers on what was going on in their worlds around them. Ms. Goldsmith certainly does not have her finger on the heartbeat of the twentysomething Seattlites she is attempting to write about. In fact, she is so much older and so much further removed that her poor attempts to portray these people and their words and actions at times made me physically wince. (It was kind of like a dorky junior high health teacher wanting to talk with a 9th grader about rap music - instead of being cool, the teacher just looks like more of a dork.)
This book was fomulmatic and extremely predictable. Somewhere around page three you can decipher the rest of the story. I just kept hanging on thinking there would be some twist of fate, but once again I was let down. Obviously, this is not her genre. Not only would I not recommend this book to anyone, I would tell others to RUN in the other direction from it. Don't let it ruin your trip to the beach!
on July 17, 2001
I didn't find much "bad" about Olivia Goldsmith's character, Jon. I found him rather annoying. All he did was whine. "Tracie WHY don't the girls like me. Why why why." Because you are an annoying character that should have never been written, that is why. I wanted to smack him across the head. Seriously, I am most relieved that the initial hype this book has generated has worn off, and most readers are now starting to see that this is a book that indeed was hacked out rather quickly to make a bit more money off the success of Goldsmith's previous work. It is not a good piece of fiction. And as for the comparisons to Bird's "The Boyfriend School," indeed they are justified. Goldsmith has taken a fine piece of humorous fiction, and changed a few minor details (enough to destroy the heart of TBS), and called it her own. The main characters have the same occupations, Tracie/Gretchen both work as newspaper feature writers, they both have boyfriends that are in the music business, and from beginning to end the similarities would take a book to list. And the book is called "The Boyfriend School." I guess it is legal in literary circles, but it doesn't seem quite ethical. As has been said about "Bad Boy," and quite succinctly, save your money. If you want a funny read, find "The Boyfriend School." It is out of print, but will be WELL worth the effort to locate it.
on July 13, 2001
If I had not known that Olivia Goldsmith had written "Bad Boy" I would have thought it was a first time novel from a novice writer. I really have enjoyed her previous novels, but this one left me puzzled. It was missing something important---heart. That spark that makes us really care about her characters. I didn't care about Tracey. I didn't care about Jon. They both seemed rather insipid, and if they were actually friends of mine, I would dump them in a heartbeat. The only remotely interesting character in the entire book was a formulaic waitress that recurred throughout the book, and frankly, I can't even remember her name, so she wasn't all that remarkable. After the first two chapters, things really got slow. I think naptime at the nursing home would be more lively. There was just no life in this book. And quite frankly, I don't know how the author ever thought she knew anything about the great state of Washington, but she doesn't have a clue! Here's hoping that Goldsmith's next book makes up for this clunker.
on July 1, 2001
I'm a huge Olivia Goldsmith fan. I reread _First_Wives_Club_ from time to time, and I adore _Bestseller_. I even keep copies of her lesser works around, on the theory that there will be another long winter night when I need some high-quality mind-candy to keep me company in front of the fire. This book, however, went to the used bookstore as soon as I finished it. And even finishing it was a struggle.
What's wrong with this book? A better question would be what's right about this book, and the answer to that is "not much". Basically, the writing style is fluent and the first 70 pages are enjoyable. My specific quibbles with the book are:
-- shoddy research: you cannot fly from Tacoma to Seattle, since the Seattle-Tacoma International airport serves Seattle AND Tacoma
-- more shoddy research: people in Seattle talk about locations in it by neighborhood name, not by intersection
-- more shoddy research: the Mother's Day journey Jon undertakes is almost certainly not possible on a bicycle
-- more shoddy research: Jon's experience at a high tech powerhouse is unlike anyone's experience at any high tech powerhouse I have ever worked at, heard about from employees, or can imagine
-- still more shoddy research: what kind of newspaper reporter gets to work regular hours, let alone never be at work? what kind of full-time newspaper writer produces only four or five fluff pieces in a several-month period?
(All this shoddy research makes me wonder why she bothered to set a book in a location and setting she knew nothing about.)
More things that are wrong with this book:
-- stupid plotlines, unresolved issues and weird digressions
-- unlikable, unbelievable, unrealistic characters
-- a foreshortened ending, which was entirely unsatisfying and unbelievable
(All of which makes me wonder why she wrote it so fast, so short, and so poorly.)
I'm sorry I bothered to finish the book. I only did so because I just couldn't bring myself to believe that Olivia Goldsmith could write such a bad book. But she could, and she did. I will be buying her next book in paperback. I hope it's better than this one.
on January 20, 2001
I was thrilled to see a new Olivia Goldmsmith book... I snapped it up immediately, and began to read it. Having loved everything she'd ever written, I knew that I was in for a treat.
Or was I?
I was stunningly dissapointed with this novel. It contained none of the elements that make Olivia such a fun read. For example, the characters were one dimensional, at best. Tracie was a poor knock-off of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones, but with out the humor or pithy insight. Ordinarily, Olivia Goldsmith develops her protagonist so well that you are empathetic, no matter how imperfect the character is. Compare Tracie with Sig in "Marrying Mom" and you'll see the disparity in developement. In the case of Bad Boys, I simply didn't CARE what happened to anyone.
Usually Olivia is fabulous at tying up the minute details. Her books generally leave no loose ends. But there were scads of loose ends in this book. What was the deal with the waitress? She seemed to be the only one with an interesting story. And what happened to her friend Laura? Was she ever going to get together with Phil? And what was the impetus for Phil's change? What happens to Jon's dad? And how did her mom die, and will she ever find closure?
As well, where were the surprising plot twists? And why no antagonist in this novel? Half the fun of the Olivia Goldsmith novels is watching justice being dispensed to the wicked. WAnd where were the wicked??
My advice? Stay away from this book. It never fulfills its promising premise. Do yourself a favor and re-read the First Wives' Club.
on July 7, 2001
My stars, I am glad I am not the only one who was very uncomfortable by the incredible similarities to Sara Bird's wonderful book, "The Boyfriend School." In "Bad Boy," Goldsmith has indeed taken almost indecent liberties with Bird's work. I know that it is very common to borrow ideas, themes, characters and plots and recombine and rewrite them into a new story. But in this case, Goldsmith has so many things that are exactly the same, that it defies the explanation of "mere" coincidence. Perhaps Goldsmith read Bird's work years ago, and subconsciously kept the storyline alive, and it has come forth in a (barely) new incarnation. Don't know the answer to this question, but I do know that the publisher and/or editor should have sniffed this out before the book went to print. Indeed, Goldsmith and her editor and publisher owe an apology to first and foremost to Sarah Bird, and secondly to her fans, who have paid their hard earned money for this novel.
on October 17, 2001
I picked up Olivia Goldsmith's last novel, Young Wives, in paperback, and I couldn't put it down. I was thrilled to find she had another book out already in hardcover so I bought it .... I let my friend read first, and she said she liked it. After I finished reading about it, she told me she lied because she didn't want to ruin it for me.
Tracie was so annoying, I don't know how she had any friends. Jon was so gullible, I didn't know how he made any money. There were so many subplots (unresolved) that I don't know why she even bothered. What happened to Jon's father? He was dying, so okay, that'll do it? What about Tracie's boss coming on to her? Oh, that's okay, don't do it again? Her life at work seemed abstract and unrealistic. I don't know why her friend Laura was even in the book, she was only on about ten pages. It was a crappy book, and I forced myself to finish it. How stupid does a guy have to be to do the things she was asking him to do??? 'Nuff said.