Fit to be Tied
Karen Kendall seems to have fallen in a proverbial plot hole and can’t quite dig herself out. Fit to be Tied suffers from a truly bad plot and some childish dialogue that would make my two year old wince.
Jen’s engagement to the almost perfect Tom has been less than stellar. Her parents decided to get a divorce the same night of their engagement, weddings plans have gone awry, and when the big day does come, Jen has blueberry-stained teeth, chunks of hair falling out, and she’s wearing sandals since one of her shoes is AWOL. Still, she puts on a calm face and heads down the aisle … to a swaying groom who reeks of scotch.
Not quite the wedding day that dreams are made of. But Jen keeps a calm face throughout a horrible reception until her husband’s ex-wife shows up – an ex-wife Jen hadn’t known existed. Hissy fit ensues while Tom gets even more snockered, never really sobering up until they are at their honeymoon destination in the Caribbean – not that I blame him. While Tom is sleeping it off on the plane, Jen whips out the “Is He The One” type self-help book that was given to her and that, along with the existence of a secret ex-wife and an ultra feminist friend’s advice, leads Jen to ask for a divorce barely 24 hours after the wedding. Her erratic behavior doesn’t stop there. From the ways she treats her best friend to the way she treats Tom, even when he gives her a shoulder to cry on, is just plain crazy. Fit to be Tied? In a straight jacket, maybe.
First things first: I understand that keeping a secret ex-spouse is a big deal that should definitely be discussed at length with your new spouse. I also understand that after a wedding day that didn’t live up to your girlhood dreams, you might take things the wrong way and go a bit berserk. But for goodness sake, sweetheart, use your brain and listen to the wonderful man who you are – admittedly – still in love with before jumping off the deep end. Tom has his reasons for keeping the ex a secret. They are good reasons and he accepts the fact that he should have talked to Jen before they married. He grovels, he practically begs, but Jen’s response is, “we need to end it while we still love each other.” Spare me.
For the first half of the book I thought, maybe I’m seeing this situation in a different light than the author intended. Soon after I realized that, no, Kendall wanted Jen to come off as a raving loon and that, my friends, is not a good thing. Does knowing that Jen’s characterization was intentional make it any better? No. Would you want to read an entire book from the perspective of a woman you want to slap 98% of the time? Didn’t think so. I almost cheered when Jen’s best friend told her like it is and then turned her back on her. Considering her friend eventually makes good with Jen, I think she’s in line for sainthood.
The second half is not looking much better as we head into the divorce negotiations. I am the mother of two preschool age boys. On a daily – almost hourly – basis I hear fighting: “It’s mine” followed by, “you can’t have it” ultimately ending with, “it’s not fair” and some nice foot stomping. The level of maturity shown when Jen and Tom argue over the divorce settlements reminded me of the recent battle between my boys over a “Thomas the Train” toy – and with some of the same dialogue.
I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I had a hard time grading Fit to be Tied. I found Kendall’s characters to be fully fleshed out and there are many humorous lines throughout making the experience a little easy to get through. But, those two facts aren’t even close enough to saving this book. Basically, Jen made me mad. To me, there isn’t any salvation if the main character has you envisioning fictional homicide.