by Sharon Sala, contemporary (2001, 1994 reissue)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-06-108196-5
Dolly Parton may play off her dumb big-jugged image, but in reality that woman is one tough, savvy country chick who writes her own great music. Diamond Houston, the country chick heroine in this story named Diamond (duh) is a disastrous showpiece of bad and cheesy melodrama. If you are looking for stories where good people endure, suffer, and weep for the tiniest of reasons, well, this book is it. If not, get drunk and snog someone under the mistletoe - it'll be more fun, I promise.
Diamond and two sisters (hey, this book is the start of a trilogy, you know) are left in a financial limbo after their gambler daddy died. Apparently here we have three grown, almost thirty-years-old women who work and give all their money to their father whom they knew is a gambler, even if they are always mad at him for wasting their money. I tell you, romance heroines nowadays. Heh.
So now the nasty guy next door wants their house-cum-bar as well, and you know how heroines are. Preserve everything Daddy left them at all costs! I mean, you have no money, fine. But keep that damn house at all costs, even if you have to cry, starve yourself, and faint in the hero's arms. Feminism died an excruciating death in this story, truly.
So Diamond goes, warbling to a bar/pub clientele who, apparently, actually like Diamond serenading them with Amazing Grace. This must be an establishment frequented by church-going, if slightly drunk, folks. I mean, I haven't heard of any cowboy guy who walk into a bar and expect to be screeched at with songs to God while he is drinking and leering at other clients.
Our hero is country singer superstar Jesse Eagle. He too, is entranced by Diamond's Amazing Grace - or maybe it's the way her lungs heave at those high notes? I don't know. Now, here is where I still don't understand how it happened: Diamond, starving and hence in a weakened state, collapses in Jesse's arms, and Jesse pretty much then kidnaps Diamond to go along with him to the big old Nashville. Diamond, of course, becomes a superstar, but it doesn't matter to her, because all she wants in her life is her Daddy and Jesse and oh, oh, oh, she's bursting into tears again!
Seriously, Diamond is one pathetic gerbil. She has talent, but she doesn't audition for big time, instead just sitting there in pubs warbling songs about what a wretch she is. Amen. Then when she is dragged along by Jesse to god-knows-where, she just follows. Her obligatory I-am-woman-hear-me-weep stance is, of course, screeching that she doesn't need any help while her head is stuck in the toilet bowl or something like that. Then when she is famous, she lets everybody direct her in what she does and says and everything. Even Diamond's singing is an expression of her weakness - it is her way to escaping her problems by going into denial-tinged screechfest.
And country singing is apparently a warzone that will make that bastard pig Osama bin Laden willingly volunteer as a subject for cosmetic animal tests. We have the usual jealous ho (she's a ho because unlike Diamond, whose curves are real, hers are all silicone), a jealous rabid manager named Tommy (Mottola?), and other ridiculous one-dimensional caricatures. And while Jesse's way of solving problems is to stand there and suffer in stoic silence, Diamond's is to weep as she flee the scene. Therefore, problems and obstacles pile up, and this story soon turns into an overlong, cheap, cheesy, and badly-done melodrama of weeping, unnecessary suffering, and more weeping. And just because these two people are too stupid to put their foot down and tell other losers to get off their back.
But I am amused when Jesse's fans, probably all those psychotic fangirls, start flooding him with letters demanding that he get rid of that bitch who is always clinging to him. At first I wonder how they can imagine someone as dumb and weepy as Diamond can actually plot an Anna Nicole Smith, but then, hey, I would hate to see my idol shack up with a braindead hussy like Diamond too. Diamond, of course, reads those letters (a machination of the Evil Manager of Jesse) and weeps and flees. What an idiot. It's a pity she doesn't get run down by a trailer.
Diamond does not offer any valuable insight into the world of country music. It doesn't even offer a decent hero or heroine, just pastiche characters excelling in passivity, stupidity, and melodrama. The contrivance and the artificial "emotional scenes" are as transparent as glass, and the romance is more akin to a man babysitting a heroine who lets her own life be run by others.
In short, a perfect below-mediocre soap opera stuff for low-budget afternoon TV movies. If you like those stuff, enjoy Diamond. Everyone else, hey, I warned you. Just don't try to commit suicide via eggnog overdose. It's not pretty, and besides, it's Christmas.
Merry Christmas everybody! It's not a peaceful time and all, but let's just all have a safe and happy Christmas.
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