I think I may be having the equivalent to a literary mid-life crisis. Either that or I am insane, at least according to Einstein’s definition I am, because I keep reading books by Maya Banks and therefore must be expecting a different outcome rather than outrage and frustration. Yet that seems to be the most common reaction I have after reading her novels. Actually if anything I am becoming more enraged with each story I read, Seducing Simon was no exception.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein
Maya Banks is very prolific so there must be something in her writing that is drawing “us” in although what it is defies me. Having an inquiring mind I feel like I should be able to identify what the secret to her success is and thus this posting.
One fateful night, Toni Langston seduces her best friend, the guy she’s been in love with forever. Two problems-he doesn’t remember a thing that happened and now she’s pregnant. Toni is devastated and humiliated when, in the heat of the moment, he calls her by his girlfriend’s name. The next morning, Simon remembers nothing of the previous night and Toni is only too relieved not to remind him. Two months later, she discovers she’s pregnant. She wants Simon to love her, apart from any obligation he might feel because of the baby.
In a very “Friends” type arrangement, Toni lives with her brother and two of his firefighter coworkers. Their ideal is shattered when roommate A.J. drops his watch in the wastepaper basket in the washroom and comes across a positive pregnancy test while searching for the offending time piece. The core plot is actually right out of 2001’s Friends season eight story arc when the group discovers someone is pregnant, in much the same manner if I remember correctly. Hi-jinx ensue and it is revealed that it is not in fact Monica who is pregnant but Rachel and the father is none other than Ross. Substitute Toni for Rachel and Simple Simon (as I dubbed him) for Ross and you will get the gist of things.
As much as I love the friends to lovers plot-line, I can only read or listen to, in this case, a finite number of agonizing passages from both sides bemoaning the threat to the relationship that becoming romantically involved poses before I want to start screaming. This in and of itself really didn’t compromise the integrity of the story but it was just one of the many transgressions made by this author in what was as a whole an overwrought heavy handed audio-book.
Toni has been hung up on Simon for years, a situation that seemed hopeless. That is until he comes home drunk after intending to surprise his girlfriend, and instead he gets the surprise finding her bed with another man. She seizes the opportunity to show the object of her affection how she feels. Perhaps naively Toni is shocked when Simon drunkenly calls her by his now ex-girlfriend’s name before passing out. Justifiably humiliated she retreats and is relieved when Simon awakens with no memories of the prior evenings events.
My sympathies were firmly on the side of Team Toni, that is until she revealed that she suffered from an incurable malady I affectionately call “stupid heroine syndrome“. Simon was only marginally better, thus my nickname of Simple Simon. The news of Toni’s pregnancy shocks her brother and roommates, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised at her later actions considering her initial plan of action was to leave her family home to live alone, ostensibly to hide her pregnancy as long as possible, even though she had only a part time job and no real means to support herself and her baby.
I initially and rather unkindly (I admit) scoffed at the fact that Toni was still a virgin at the seemingly advanced age of 25. That is until I took it upon myself to do some research and came across a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics and found a sexual behavior survey conducted between the years of 2006 and 2008 stated that 29% of females aged 15-24 reported that they had not engaged in sexual practices involving intercourse. Now as to why Toni wouldn’t have thought to use a condom is a discussion for another day.
Just as her brother and roommates are adjusting to the upcoming change in their living arrangements another firefighter from their station asks Toni out. An occurrence that discomfits Simon greatly. By confessing her predicament to Mike it is possibly the only act within the whole story where Toni shows a modicum of sense. Deciding a relationship is out of the question Mike conspires with Toni to seduce Simon. The plan, in short, was pretend to date Mike, dress seductively and touch Simon a lot to which he reacted in an appropriately male fashion. I won’t sport with your sensibilities by going into detail.
In an incomprehensibly stupid act, at least to me, Toni decides to play flag football with the firemen and of course she is knocked down. When she starts spotting, instead of immediately seeking medical assistance like any sane woman, she opts to go home. Once I managed to close my mouth I immediately googled the author to see if she was a mother as the only reason I could conceive of that she would write something so ridiculous would be out of plain ignorance. I then audited my friends who are mothers to see if the idea of spotting was as terrifying to them as it was to me. The response was unilaterally “Go directly to the doctor, do not pass GO, do not collect $200!” Only one hedged that if the child was unwanted perhaps the answer would be different but Toni maintained throughout the novel that she loved her baby despite the stupidity of her actions surrounding its conception.
Once her “plan” to seduce Simon began to, excuse the pun, bear fruit did she confess that he was the father of her child? No, of course not. Opportunity after opportunity arose for Toni to come clean and instead she would continue to choose the stupidest course of actions possible from those that mildly endangered her unborn child, overworking herself and not eating properly to those that were wildly risky driving home in the middle of the night during a freak ice storm. Perhaps her actions would be more selfless if the father of her child was an uninterested, unemployed scumbag. However Simon, even before realizing that he was going to be a father, stepped into the role repeatedly offering to accompany Toni to her appointments and even rubbing her feet!
Toni was without a question one of the stupidest, most selfish heroines I have ever had the misfortune to read about. I debated and have concluded that Seducing Simon defies rating. Save your sympathies though because in my opinion I don’t deserve them since I decided to follow this up by listening to Colter’s Woman by Maya Banks. A story that features not one, not two but three brothers who are looking for ONE woman to share their lives with. Cue the banjos now, or am I the only one who is having visions of Deliverance?