Monday, 22 August 2011

Coming Out - Danielle Steel (2006)

My mum recently bought me a few second-hand Danielle Steel books. And I'm not really sure if I'm a fan. I've disliked more than I have loved. This book has little depth. The title is a little double entendre, one meaning being the twin girls who are coming out into society as debutantes. And the other foreshadowing revelations to come.

It's a fairly basic story. The huge problem it has is that Steel constantly over-emphasises the attributes of the characters. And then it's like ten pages later she's forgot she already described the character and goes for take two with some rephrasing. What annoys me most is that the protagonist is a flawless housekeeper, loving wife, caring mother of four, devout Jew and full-time lawyer - all of which she achieves to perfection easily with no juggling or time constraints. It's unrealistic and vaguely insulting to working mothers.

Olympia is happy with her life. She loves her job, her second husband and her kids. She is from a wealthy, high-society family and receives in the mail an invitation for her two twin daughters to attend a debutante ball. She is excited to have her daughters experience the same magical night that she did. One daughter, Virginia is ecstatic to be invited, and immediately wants to go shopping. The other  - Veronica - refuses to go on account that it is an elitist, discriminatory, outdated event. Her Jewish husband is even less keen - he refuses to attend on the grounds that is discriminates against Jews and blacks by only inviting girls from white, blue-blooded families. Olympia manages to get her mother-in-law on side. Olympia buys a dress with Virginia, and they also pick one for Veronica. Veronica relents and agrees to go as their biological father refuses to pay for their tuition if they both don't attend the ball. The girls go off to university and the matter is shoved in the closet for a few months, but Olympia is worried about her oldest son Charlie who has been introverted of late. Then when the girls return home the week before the ball, all hell breaks loose. Olympia and her youngest son get the flu, her mother-in-law has a fall and breaks her ankle and Olympia catches sight of Veronica's new tattoo - a big multi-coloured butterfly that spans her back. Problem is, Veronica's been bought a backless dress. The mother-in-law saves the day by whipping up a stole to cover the horrendous tattoo. Then Veronica's date turns up with bright blue hair. But the committee soon sends him away to dye to to a natural colour. The night goes ahead and all is well, except Olympia wishes her husband was there. Lo and behold, the guy turns up. Then while Olympia is dancing with her son Charlie, he tells her that he is gay.

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