August 6, 2009

Wideacre by Philippa Gregory: Review

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I can't express the soap opera-ness of Wideacre by Philippa Gregory. The Shower Cap Guy from MadTV would probably say, "It's crazy as hell!!" Let's just say there is incest, murder, patricide, S&M, secret babies, angry villagers and a legless gypsy. It's as if Gregory had a big book of outlandish plots and threw them all in there.

If Wideacre was a sport there would be an X in front of it, as in X-treme! Everyone is X-treme in this book. The main character, Beatrice Lacey, doesn't just love the land of Wideacre, she loves it To The Extreme! At one point she tries to marinate herself in it's dirt. Everyone else tells her, "Dude, it's just land" but she's peeved about how her brother, who knows nothing about Wideacre, will get the land when their Dad dies. Beatrice meets up with a gypsy boy named Ralph. At this point they have sex and it's To The Extreme! And being X-treme Beatrice she doesn't just like it, she aches for it. It's agonizing!!! Ralph hatches a plan to do away with Daddy and make brother Harry dance like a puppet. Did I mention Harry has a fetish? We'll get to that later.

At the last minute Beatrice changes her mind but it's too late. Exit Daddy, stage right. So, now X-treme Beatrice is up in arms that Ralph would to such a thing and who does he think he is, etc, etc. She attempts to murder him in a ridiculously strange way but it doesn't take. Ralph becomes The Legless Gypsy: Scourge of the County.

I bet you think I gave away half the book but no we're not even through 200 pgs in of this 600+ page book! ("It's crazy as hell!!")

When Harry returns to Wideacre, X-treme Beatrice having lost her lover starts having yucky, yucky thoughts of her brother. She starts seeing him as The God of the Harvest (I swear it's in there!) and her ticket to staying on Wideacre. Brace yourselves... they have intercourse... and Harry likes to be beaten...To The Extreme! When Harry gets married to the Sweetest Girl in the County, things get even more entangled. Beatrice thinks it might be nice to have a stable full of little sibling/cousins to play with Uncle/Daddy and somehow help her keep Harry under her thumb. However, everything starts to come undone for Beatrice and the plot goes even more... To The Extreme!

Beatrice is Scarlett O'Hara on crack. She does crazy things to stay on Wideacre, but even Scarlett would draw the line at her schemes. I guess all the Extremeness is to point out how unfair it was to be a girl in the 1700's. You didn't get the land unless you had the Y chromosome. So this adds to her madness. I also don't think it helped that Daddy told her that she was a "Lacey of Wideacre" and could do no wrong. She tests that theory! Besides all the grossness of the incest, Beatrice is so in love with herself, so arrogant! This girl does nothing by halves.

This is a book to be taken in small doses, it's so overwrought. But I couldn't walk away from it. Don't you want to find out how Beatrice gets her comeuppance?

Hesitantly recommended to those who love melodrama and have a high tolerance for ickiness.

19 comments :

  1. Since my tolerance for ickiness is pretty low, I think I'll skip this one. Your review was a lot of fun!

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  2. What a fantastic review! I've had this series on my book shelf for over a year but will have to dust them off and start reading. You've got me intrigued!

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  3. Great review. I haven't read anything by Phillipa Gregory I haven't liked yet so I would definitely read this one too.... thanks for the heads up though!

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  4. I wonder if this is the same books that Raych reviewed at Books I Done Read. If so, her review was hillarious! I kinda want to read this... do I seem wierd?

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  5. Oh, so hilarious. Great review, but I think I'll pass on the book.

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  6. OMG! This review is hysterical. I have a feeling I'll like it better than the book itself. I do however own it so I have no choice but read it.

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  7. Kathy- You might want to skip it then.

    Alaine- Enjoy!!

    Sheila- You've been warned!

    Sheri- Yes, it was. She egged me on. I must read the next in the series though.

    Booklogged- At least I'm helping people avoid some things they might not like.

    Lilly- I don't actually own this one myself. It's my mom's.

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  8. Your review was very entertaining, especially the part about Scarlett O'Hara on crack! LOL! I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy this one.

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  9. LOL I also love the line, "Beatrice is Scarlet O'Hara on crack." I wish they would put that on the cover. :)

    I don't know about this one... I have a pretty low tolerance for Scarlet O'Hara. Great review, though.

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  10. I've had this one on my shelf for ages, and I fully expect it to be hilariously overwrought, but I think I need to be in just the right mood for over-the-top-ness before I start reading it.

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  11. Like others, I loved this line: "Beatrice is Scarlett O'Hara on crack."

    I generally like Gregory, but I'm not sure I'd like this.

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  12. She has definite Scarlett qualities with heaps of madness.

    Fyrefly- I hope you find the perfect moment.

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  13. I loved your review of this! It is definitely X-treme. I did enjoy this, it was fun and I have a high tolerance to ickiness so was ok. Will you be reading the other two in the sries?

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  14. Rhinoa- My mom lent me all 3 (she must have liked them) so I'll get to them eventually but probably not right away.

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  15. This was a fantabulous review that had me laughing out loud! Seriously, the last line....I can't decide if it makes me want to run towards or away from this book (which I actually have on my shelves to read some day by the way).

    I suspect, though, that the ick factor will win out and it will lay there for a long time to come. Perhaps one day when I'm desperate, bored and all the way through my TBR pile. Is it a good read for that type of scenario?

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  16. Chris, I can save you some agony. The second book is meh, and the third book only slightly better (but in the third book you get closure on who gets Wideacre). I thought the book was great in it's ridiculousness, and it took me back to when I read V C Andrews and actually thought that was good reading. :)

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  17. This is one of the funniest reviews I've ever read. Though it didn't make me want to read Wideacre, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review!

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  18. This was such a fun review! And now I really want to read Wideacre - it seems like the experience would be comparable to watching a really cheesy-bad movie and making snarky remarks all the way through :)

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  19. Thanks foe the warning--I think I'll pass on this one!

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