“ ‘Yes,’ he said succinctly.”
Nobody expects social realism from Danielle Steel, but it’s still shocking to find Jews portrayed as monsters in Toxic Bachelors (Dell). The novel involves three single men from different backgrounds who try to avoid marriage while cruising the Mediterranean. Each man represents a spiritual as well as social “type”: Charlie is WASP-y, Gray makes a religion of art, and Adam is Jewish. Guess which one has an ineffectual father, a mother who is “a nagging bitch,” and a spoiled sister? If you said, “Adam,” you’re right. While Charlie’s dead parents were saintly and Gray’s were irresponsible but not malicious, Adam’s are cruel enough to make the Portnoys look like candidates for a lifetime achievement award from Parents’ magazine. Adam sees his parents as “freaks” no better than a sister who committed the ultimate sin: “She had never done anything with her life except get married and have two children.”
“He was well built and good-looking in an exotic, ethnic way.” In other words, he’s Jewish. Steel doesn’t do better with her other characters. A line about one of them: “Yes,’ he said succinctly.” Is there another way to say “Yes”?
© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
[The Delete Key Awards finalists are being posted in random order throughout the day. They are numbered only for convenience.]