Apples Should Be Red
February 15, 2014
Blurb via Goodreads:
Start with sixty-two year old politically incorrect, chain-smoking, hard-cussing curmudgeon. Add fifty-nine year old sexually-repressed know-it-all in pearls. Throw in a beer can-turkey, a battle for horticultural supremacy, and nudist next-door neighbor. Serve on paper plates, garnished with garden gnome. Tastes like happily ever after.
In the interests of Full Honesty – I know the author via online Twitter convos, the occasional email contact and once I ALMOST met her in person (After talking on the phone a couple of times to only realize I wouldn’t be able to – sob!). I also happen to just enjoy her personality and conversation a lot. So there’s all that and since there is, I’m not grading this review, but these are, I pinky-swear, my one hundred percent honest opinions on her latest read.
Apples Should Be Red is a short, mostly enjoyable story about a late fifty-something female protagonist and a sixty-something male…er, protagonist! We come into Bev and Tom’s story right before Thanksgiving, a holiday that understandably has turned many a woman into a control freak who wants everything to be perfect. Hell, even if you know you can’t make everything perfect, it’s still stressful. Thanks to termites accosting her very proper and well-groomed Colonial-style home, Bev must endure the mesmerizing insults and tirades of her daughter’s husband’s father. That would be Tom. Tom is, well, let’s just say Tom has a robust personality. Yeah, that’s it. The kind that’s a little more steel wool than Mr. Clean magic eraser. While both do the job, Tom regularly employs the missal effect when dealing with people. The more bombs that leave his mouth and scour the receiver abrasively, the better for Tom. I must say, if it’s not obvious by now, that Tom is why the book is only mostly enjoyable for me. It took me a while to gel with the man.
Actually, Tom reminded me a lot of Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino, and once I realized this, I could almost appreciate Tom more. Almost. I was a little perturbed at times with how he badgers Bev. Bev came from, to put it mildly, an unhappy marriage. And so as not to just give all this short story away, we’ll just say she stuck with it till its bitter end. Hey, no judging, right? Right. Except, Tom seemed very judgmental. It was a little hard to take his treatment of Bev, and he appeared to revel at times in the act of causing her further pain, even if he showed almost immediate remorse for doing so. Sometimes.
I’m not exactly sure how or when Tom grew on me, but by the end of the book I was all for their romance. Yes, their romance. I quite agree with the author on the subject of new adult titles being so popular when stats show that older readers are mostly reading romance. It’s true – I just don’t get a lot of the angst and, well, more angst (and emo, ots and lots) that’s piled on in the ones I’ve tried so far (if the context is needed, I’m in my mid thirties, and frankly, me and nobody else I knew were ever so riddled with angst in our twenties, but hey, maybe plenty others were.). Watson’s story shows that older couples need, look for and find romance as well. And that they do so pretty realistically. Yeah, I felt Tom’s rough demeanor was a little overdone, and Bev seemed at times just a little too much a pushover when it came to him, but I did end up enjoying their story. However, had Tom been mine, I would have felt the need to point out that women have been wearing pants for some time as well, and he didn’t need to be quite so pushy. Still, he has some great lines, and despite my side-eyeing him a time or two, he did make me laugh.
What I really enjoyed was how he does come to convince Bev that she was always worth more than what her marriage to an uncaring man had carved her into. Bev was still trapped. She had an appearance and reputation as a perfect wife to uphold even though the manager of all that was gone. I also, of course, enjoyed how she showed Tom that she wasn’t as useless as she outwardly appeared to be to him. Her ways were more subtle, definitely more gentle, but he eventually gets it and grows to admire her instead. Yes, their path was riddled with thorns, but it was, mostly, smoothed out by the end.
Watson has a uniquely clever and amusing voice that has carried through in everything I’ve read of hers so far and it’s definitely a trait a reader can look forward to. Her dialogue is sharp, her characters are witty as a result and the scenarios she comes up with are always engaging. Highly recommended reading for anyone that needs to read a romance with engaging characters and a healthy dose of snort-worthy laughter.