August 14, 2009

The Necklace

I finished reading The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Transformed Their Lives, and do you think I will ever EVER permanently learn whether or not the word "that" is capitalized in a title? I am thinking not. ("Not ever learn," not "not capitalized.") It doesn't help that I don't even know if subtitles are supposed to be capitalized at all---or part of the book title. Hey, did you know I started college as an English major?

Anyway, I finished this book we will now call The Necklace, and that means I have already doubled my predicted success with my book stack.

The story starts with a good idea: a baker's dozen of women decide it's silly to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a diamond necklace they'd only wear a few times a year, so why not go in on one together and share it? This is the kind of idea that immediately makes me feel like copying. I want YOU AND ME to buy a diamond necklace and share it!!

But the book itself. Em. The author is so butt-kissy, it's good there are plenty of photos or you'd think you could never belong to this sort of group because you were not enough of a MOVIE-STAR-GORGEOUS HARDBODY at age 60. The group photo shows thirteen perfectly normal and nice women, but the author describes each as looking like Téa Leoni, having cascading blond waves, looking twenty years younger, not having a single wrinkle, etc. It's...weird.

And things are just as weird with the descriptions of the experiment itself. This is not just a cool idea, this is a TRANSFORMATIVE CONCEPT. It's not just fun to share the necklace, it's LIFE-CHANGING. It's not interesting that the necklace-sharing led to the women developing friendships and doing some fundraising together, it's ASTONISHING AND WORLD-ALTERING. Letting other people wear the necklace for a few minutes isn't just letting other people wear the necklace for a few minutes, it's SPREADING A NEW WAY TO THINK ABOUT POSSESSIONS.

Meanwhile, it sounds like a pretty miserable set-up. There is a lot of talk about how the necklace IMPROVED SEX LIVES and RESTORED SELF-ESTEEM and RAISED BAMBI'S MOTHER FROM THE DEAD, but what I mostly noticed was that no one could agree on what was supposed to be the point of the group, or of the necklace, or of sharing the necklace, nor could anyone agree what the rules should be. Furthermore, the details of why some women dropped out of the group and were replaced by others is sort of glossed over. Also, they named the necklace "Jewelia" (Julia) and refer to it as "her." *HUGE EYE ROLL*

In the first chapter, I was thinking, "OMG WE SHOULD TOTALLY DO THIS. Okay, maybe not with a diamond necklace, but with SOMETHING!!" and by the last I was thinking, "Okay, so it's like every other women's group ever, but with a sparkly prop."

23 comments:

Janet said...

I feel nothing but scorn towards these women (nice as they may be--I caught them on a TV show a while back) and this book.

Now, if these same women had used that money to start a foundation to help underprivileged kids go to college (or some equally noble effort)...THAT'S A BOOK I WOULD LIKE TO READ.

Jewels said...

I'm going to start going by Jewelia. Just to irritate you.

Kathy said...

It's an interesting concept, to be sure. But I know that I, for one, would be very reluctant to part with the lovely bauble at the end of my turn.

Reluctant as in "possession is 9/10 of the law, bitches!"

Which is why no one shares with me any more...

Melospiza said...

Jew-ellia. Jewellia. I know logically it should sound like Julia, since we wear jules and not jewelles, but man. Jewelia. Also, the more I write it, the more I feel like an antisemite or something.

Anyway, although your review made me want to run screaming in the opposite direction from this book (as opposed to, say, just NOT READ IT, which was my stance before), it totally made me laugh. The world needs more reviews like this, hon. Start a service?

jird said...

So, it's a grown-up, rich version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?

Swistle said...

Melospiza- Yes! YES! EVERY SINGLE TIME I READ IT, I pronounced it in my head "Jew-welly-uh---oh, right, JULIA."

Ashley said...

I read in the Family Fun magazine about a group of families that shared a hamster. You know, so the kids don't have it for too long that they get bored of it, the parents only have to clean the cage for so long before they get burned out and resentful towards their children, and the hamster comes back again in a few months, almost like a brand spankin' new pet!

That sounds a lot more useful to me than sharing a necklace (at least it's not weird to NAME a hamster).

d e v a n said...

Thanks for the review. Now I won't waste my time reading it. hehe

Annika said...

I worked as a copy editor for years, and still occasionally freelance, and I have to look that kind of stuff up every damn time.

Also, it seems to me that such an arrangement would be better-suited to, like, a book. Yes, I am always the life of the party. Why do you ask?

susan said...

*sigh* sounds like a group of women desperate to "Oprah-fy" their lives.

Kelly said...

oprah-fy. LOL. perfect.

yeah 10-4 on the hamster thing. brilliant. me and a friend shared a rat. (we like rats so just stay with me and pretend we're talking about a hamster if rats freak you out)(long story. but basically stupidly lame preschool teacher bought rat for class. rat bit teacher's son, so was deemed unsafe for grabby preschoolers who don't wash food smells off hands. DUuuuuuh!!! so rat needs home. so teacher's assistant took it home but asked if we could share custody of him. sure.)turned out that I was allergic to his little feet scratching me and hubby couldn't stop sneezing for 3 minutes. so we gave full custody back to the teachers assistant. but it was a cool and wonderful idea and it worked but for the allergies. If you know the other family will take good care of the animal I highly recommend this.

anyway, yeah, this group of women would make me gag up my flavored iced tea. I don't get it. I agree with the PP...spend that money on something meaningful (or fun).

My mom had a group of friends called the "olden girls" and every time someone had a birthday they passed back and forth this hideously padded ginormous bra. the recipient of the bra would embellish it. It had tassles (the pastor's wife did that!) and fringe and lace and mardigras beads and you name it. it was hideous and wonderful. I am not positive but I think it may have been buried with one of them that died a very unexpected and young death. It was a fun thing for them. way better than a stupid diamond necklace. and no one would fight over the ugly bra. LOL

aren't I just full of stories. Shut up Kelly.

OK.

mamarose said...

Heh heh heh, ohhh I always love a good Bambi's-dead-mother joke!

Also, your brilliant use of capitalization reminded me that my blog has been very low on capitals lately and I must ammend that immediately.

MzEll said...

This just reminds me of that episode of Franklin where he and Beaver find a crystal! in! the! pond! They try to share it, but end up just giving it to Bear and then tossing it back in the pond because it was such a dumb idea. Oprahfication to the max.

I'm in favor of a Swistle Reviews column as well!!

Kristi said...

Jewelia Schmoolia

Kim said...

As you hopefully know, your book opinions mean a lot to me and I fully appreciate a bad review just as much as a recommendation for a good one. Life's too short for annoying books and since this was on my list of to-reads, I can now wipe it off with complete and total confidence. I'm still scarred from my Calla Lily experience; I don't need anymore stinkers in my life.

Jess said...

I have never heard of this book or these women. But it must be a pretty terrible book if you STARTED out being all excited and it managed to KILL your enthusiasm. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Serial Mommy said...

i read that book, except it was called "sisterhood of the traveling pants" and from your description, i think i like the one i read better...

Astarte said...

Gag, barf, gag. Blecch.

Whimsy said...

I'm with Amber. Let's share a hamster and NOT name it Hamstairia.

It think it would be awesome. As was your review of this book.

And you know what, Swistle? YOU'RE my sparkly prop. In a good way.

Missives From Suburbia said...

Let's all share underwear and write a blog about it.

Amanda said...

I was all prepared to add a Swistle book to my list but I'm going to pass on this one. I just read The Book Thief (excellent) and don't think the trials and tribulations of a group of women and some diamonds are going to hold up.

Thank you for your review. I so love seeing what everyone else is reading!

Becky said...

Grammar nerd alert... if a word is four letters or more, it gets capitalized. :)

The Gori Wife said...

i would LOVE to share something with Swistle at el. (but not if it's underwear.)