Della reads like an unedited, uncorrected first draft. There are spectacular missteps in nearly every aspect of the craft of writing. It’s painful to read, and it’s hard to imagine anything that could have made it better – there’s just too much to fix.
The plot, such as it is: Della Garland is a travel agent (or something) who is fired when she tries to bluff her boss into giving her her own agency to run. She’s stunned, since she and the boss were such pals – didn’t they go drinking every Friday? Didn’t she confide the secrets of her past to him? Not to worry. She is immediately hired by elderly tycoon Wes Gates, because unbeknownst to her, she is Wes’s illegitimate daughter from a long-ago encounter with her prostitute mom. Lillian kept baby Della (and spent Wes’s abortion pay-off on a vacation) to ensure her welfare payments for life.
Della has never known who her father is, although Wes has watched out for her (without bothering to improve her condition) all her life. Even when Della briefly turned to hooking, it wasn’t her watchful father that saved her. No, it was mommy dearest Lillian who kicked her out of the house in a contradictory kind of tough love. Once hired by Wes, Della quickly rises through the ranks of his company because of her astounding business acuity.
Della speaks in an improbable slang dialect that I found irritating at first. Then I discovered that every single character speaks in the same monotonous, cliche-ridden voice, be they seventy-year-old tycoons, forty-something secretaries, or twenty-something lawyers. It’s the written equivalent of Chinese water torture.
In addition to the tone-deaf voice, there’s absolutely no evidence of research beyond the level of Dynasty reruns. On her first day Della can’t use a Dictaphone and has only seen WordPerfect on TV, but in six months she’s doing major audits of entire companies. These audits are so good that they double the gross of every company she reviews. This is hard to believe since everything Wes touches is automatically successful already, but easy to believe since Wes is such an idiot that he doesn’t fire a music company president despite knowing the jerk supplies drugs to his own clients. Did I mention the rampant illogic? Every character believes at least six contradictory things before breakfast, and then they select the stupidest of all possible choices and begin their day. There’s evidently uncharted territory beyond TSTL, and these folks are eager pioneers.
Don’t bother to ask about the irritating hero, a nonentity who emerges late in the story. Our heroine begins the book with tons of emotional baggage: she needs a man to be happy but makes incredibly bad choices in love; she despises her mother yet wants her approval; she doesn’t know how to dress or act and has no confidence. Her insecurity is the only human emotion depicted with any real insight, but even in a well-written book it would be difficult to stay close to such a character during all the growing pains she’d have to go through to eventually succeed. However, Della succeeds without actually resolving any of her issues. She’s nearly as pathetic at the end of the book as she was at the beginning.
The only people I could recommend this book to are beginning writing students; dissecting it could make an interesting class project, since overall it’s a staggering depiction of what not to do. I never saw any evidence of editorial input in this book. It’s available in three different formats (paperback, e-book, and rocketbook), but I wouldn’t recommend reading it in any of them.