Suffer Love | Ashley Herring Blake
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Edition: Paperback ARC
Rating: Did Not Finish
I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.
Before reading this, if you would've told me that I:
A. wouldn't like it, and B. that it features a god awful joke that actually turns out to be a jab towards POC, I seriously would've thought you've lost your mind. If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, or just chat with me on twitter, then you know that I am the biggest fan of all things bookishly dysfunctional. When I first discovered that Suffer Love showcases a very screwed up family dynamic with the aspect of cheating, I was so onboard . . until I actually started the book.
Not even five pages in, my literary ghost strolls in simultaneously nibbling on a cold slice of pizza and sipping orange Fanta as he squealed, " oooooo you hate this don't you? Your face is all screwed up and pinched, sorta how you looked while reading The Wrath & The Dawn but worst! " I couldn't even deny it, he was right. I've never been a fan of overly descriptive writing that's shoved down our throats as beautiful prose, (my friend Ari calls it " dramatics " ) so I was already off to quite a shaky start. Breezing past that, (especially since it didn't happen quite often) I stumbled into an even bigger issue -- an issue that I for one, refuse to put up with.
Here we go again. We haven't even scratched the surface on debuts in 2016, and I already feel like authors are snatching recipes from the next person, switching up ingredients as they go. Upon finishing chapter one, I literally groaned with annoyance after noticing this would be another formula where (daddy issues/family issues + self-esteem issues) x promiscuous = our female main character. So far I've seen this displayed with Mercedes in Firsts, Zephyr in The Girl Who Fell, and Eden in The Way I Used To Be. Although these girls are light years ahead of our MC in the sex department, the common denominator is still there: young girl using intimacy to piece together the shambles that is her life. While I love when my contemporaries feature realistic situations, it's the redundancy of this aspect that gets to me.
Suffer Love follows Hadley and Sam, two teens that are dealing with some serious shit at home. Hadley's father had an affair with Sam's mother, completely destroying one marriage, while the other is hanging on by mere threads. I actually liked the depiction of this situation . . sort of. I felt it was both realistic and unrealistic all at the same time, mostly because of its execution. While Hadley is in the dark about who her dad's mistress is, Sam knows everything. After being at school for all of 30 mins and learning that Hadley's last name was St.Clair from a guy he talked to for 5 of that 30, he was able to piece together that Hadley was indeed the daughter of the man that fucked up his family. St.Clair is a pretty common last name and you mean to tell me he was able to click this together in all of 2.5 seconds? Okay, Sherlock JR. If someone commits a crime with the last name Willis, hopefully, I won't be held accountable. Guilty by last name association is apparently a thing folks. But even this wasn't the tip of the iceberg.
Physical (p.17) Ebook (5%)
Sam in reference to Ajay, who we believe is Indian.
" If I hadn't known the guy since I was six, I'd probably report him as a terrorist threat. "
This was clearly a joke meant to poke fun at the fact that Ajay loves to put things together, problem is, why did the author think this was okay to say? I used to take apart and put together VCR's when I was younger, does that make me a terrorist too? If I were Middle Eastern, would someone profile me as such? Outside of the community, we are dealing with enough as it is. Satan running for president, (Donald Trump #sorrynotsorry) the terrorist group ISIS, mass bombings in countries outside of the US. It is far too soon to make such a distasteful joke . . actually, such a thing shouldn't even cross your lips, let alone be put on paper for millions of readers, especially young adult readers to see. We've been fighting for diverse reads, even pushing hard to support AOC within the community, so to see authors not using their better judgment, (especially those who always appear to be advocates of diversity) is beyond disheartening. This sentence made it past the beta stage, editor(s), the ARC, down to the finished copy, without anyone speaking up about it, and honestly I'm baffled. Surely out of the hundreds of readers and authors that have read this book, someone had to have seen it right? When it comes to POC, is it so easy to sweep us under the rug? Is this a case of I-wanted-to-say-something-but-I-was-afraid-of-backlash? or even worst, I- didn't-say-anything-because-it-wasn't-directed-towards-me?
I was taught that if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. Sadly in our community, there aren't many ppl willing to rise above.
@astoldbyfANGIRL I would DNF it. I've been called a terrorist irl, I def don't need to see this in books. For sure taking this off my TBR— Cari (@addictionbookss) May 22, 2016
While the author has used her twitter platform to apologize, I'm still having a bit of trouble accepting it. It felt like a cop out, a way to cover her ass, however, everyone is human -- everyone makes mistakes. Let's hope this will be an eye-opening experience for us all.