I read / listened to Verity by Colleen Hoover, so you don’t have to

Reviews are dangerous things, so are recommendations. Driving back from the Free State to Cape Town with my colleague opened us up to these dangers.

“There is this book that a lot of the Facebook groups I follow are recommending, it is called Verity,” my colleague suggested by way of conversation.

“Interesting,” I replied. “What is it about”.

This was my first mistake. Don’t open doors if you are not planning on walking through them.

“I’m not sure, it seems to be like a suspense novel, and people are saying that you will either hate it or love it.” She reads one of the posts from a Facebook group: “What un-put-downable book have you recently read? Mine is Verity.”

From the sentence construction to the bright balloons surrounding the copy the poster had used as a background, I should have realized that she and I were not part of the same conversation. I did not.

“OK, let’s try it out, we have time to kill,” I replied foolishly. This was my second mistake. You should be critical with your time, it is finite.

As I was driving, my colleague took my phone and downloaded the book to my Audible app. I have not examined the damage this move has made to my suggestions algorithm, but I am sure that the repercussions will be felt for many searches and results to come.

The audiobook is about 8 hours long, and I assume that means it is an average length in print as well. It is read by two “artists”, Vanessa Johansson and Amy Landon, and their performances are on-par with the book. At first, they seem fine, but as the story progresses there are multiple times when we looked at each other, stating: “She sounds like a robot” or “Who talks like this” – fortunately, there was not too much to detract from.

To give you a single line review of the book, I will say this, Verity is what you get when Murder She Wrote, My dad wrote a porno and Sex in the City have sloppy, lazy and weirdly descriptive sex. An orgy you will not want to watch but won’t be able to look away from.

The mystery is thin, the sex ridiculous and the internal dialogue conceited and binary.

From the beginning of the book, where we are given a detailed description of how a man’s skull is crushed by a truck, to the meeting of the two main characters, we are forced to sit through details that add zero value to the rest of the plot and leave you with a confused uncertainty.

And then, on top of that, we get reams and reams of boring, useless internal monologue that left me constantly shaking my head, wondering: “Is this how it sounds inside a woman’s head? What is going on here, why is she thinking this?”

There is more going on in her internal monologue than anywhere else in this story. And it is not an interesting journey, it is frustrating, staged and extremely obvious. The main character, Lowen, is the embodiment of that moment in a horror movie when the main character hears a sound in a dark room and then walks towards is. This left me constantly begging her to just leave. Just get in your car and leave!?

For those that have not read anything else about Verity, the plotline is as follows: an introverted writer with marginal success is contacted by her agent to ghost-write a book for a famous novelist who cannot complete her own series. This takes our naïve writer to a small town where she, a mysterious dark-horse of a man, Jeremy, and his damaged writer-wife, Verity, are caught in a lover’s trio from hell.

The plot is as thin as this: Lowen, the protagonist, is caught between either leaving her soon-to-be-lover with his apparently incapacitated wife, Verity, after discovering her to be an evil bitch, OR staying to fight against her evil oppression (which lives solely in Lowen’s mind), and in doing so, free her lover from the bitch’s claws.

If anything, this book made me seriously question the level of obsession a woman could have for a man. This book fails the ‘feminist woman’s test’ hands down. The women in this book have no internal direction, they are driven by the dark horse Jeremy’s decisions, emotions and mood. They constantly discuss him, think about him, describe him and he does nothing in return. Nowhere does he actually contribute to the story through dialogue in any meaningful way. He is a brick wall used to place fantasies on.

Now, if you are an avid reader of the Twilight novels and enjoy reading/hearing the word “blowjob” mentioned more times than anyone should have to hear in an entire year, then possibly this book is for you. If this is not you, however, then I would advise you to steer clear of this rambling, unnecessary and sometimes extremely bizarre book.

While listening to Verity, I had a Michael Connelly book, currently half read, just waiting in the wings. I have now listened to an hour of the Connelly book, City of Bones, and his writing is Beauty to Hoover’s Beast. Her work is comparable to a high school kid’s homework when held against that of Connelly. I think this is what frustrated me the most.

Verity is just not good.

After completing the book in nearly one sitting, my only thought was, “What a complete waste of time.” I want my 8 hours back.

To prove that I am not being overly dramatic, I will leave you with this from the book. The character Verity wrote this, and I should add that she is an acclaimed writer in this fictional world:

“But he seemed a little angry with me, like he wanted to talk about this subject I considered closed. I didn’t want to talk anymore. I just wanted him to make me cum. So, I straddled his face and lowered myself onto his tongue. When I felt his hands grip my ass, pulling me closer to his mouth, my head rolled back for a delicious moment.”

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