The Mine by John A. Heldt
DNF at 47%
I don’t typically review books I DNF. I even have a statement to that effect in my review policy. That said, I’ve been hung up on this one book since the end of August, and it’s been keeping me from writing reviews of other books, so I felt compelled to write a little PSA.
The reason I kept putting this novel down: sexism. The reason I kept picking it back up: I hate not finishing things.
Now, I realize that the majority of the book is set in the 1940’s, so, different time, different place, different culture. Whatever. The main character, however, is from THIS century, and he’s a grade-A douche.
From page one I thought I had fallen into a mini frat party with 2-D bros. Not only were these 2-D characters employed as the main duo, but they themselves reduced all female characters to a summary of their features. THEN, one bro mysteriously ends up in the 1940s and barely bats an eye. I’m supposed to understand that he just floats through life anyhow, so it’s perfectly acceptable for him to time travel and not be affected. Errrm, k?
I can’t figure out if this author really dislikes women, or if he’s just so out of touch with them that he can’t write convincing female characters (dear gods, the dialogue) OR convincing male/female interactions. Passages like this one (after Joel has chased down a foul baseball for Grace (the blonde) — she didn’t ask him to btw– and he has been caught scaling the fence back into the baseball stadium by a security guard. Grace decides not to acknowledge that Joel is her companion or that he has a ticket so the guard is hauling him off):
Joel glanced over his shoulder at the blonde. He couldn’t believe she had abandoned him like a feral dog. He had risked his neck getting that ball. Talk about ingratitude. He remembered something Adam had told him their freshman year. Trust no woman.
She’s ungrateful? Because you were a show-off and she didn’t respond how you wanted her to? Ugh *rolls eyes*. Oh, and Adam and that freshman year he’s referring to, that was around 1996 — not in the 1940s. These gendered blanket statements seriously need to just stop.
The above passage is fairly benign in and of itself, but in combination with all 44% of the book in front of it, it was the last straw. In the end, I found it too exhausting to keep banging my head up against the wall of sexism, and had to say no thanks. I can’t really even say that the writing was compelling or interesting or that the premise was well executed because those were problems as well. 11/22/63 by Steven King was published in 2011 (The Mine was first published in 2012), and I couldn’t help but draw some comparisons. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ King’s book? Much better execution.
Unless you are over the age of 50 and a white male (or completely out of touch with modern movements of inclusion and feminism), you’re probably going to want to skip this one.
If you’re interested in some moment-to-moment thoughts I had on this book, I posted some status updates (complete with GIFS!) on Goodreads. You can check those out here.
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.