Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reading History X: What to expect when reading Danielle Steel novels

Because I'm still a bit of a long way from finishing and reviewing some books, just for the fun, I'd do a post about common themes in a Danielle Steel novel.

1. The Lolita Effect
Expect for at least one of the characters (most likely a female,) to be with someone who is way older than she is. (Ten to thirty or so years.)

2. The Mary Sue Effect
Although her characters do suffer as normal people, they are described as la creme de la creme in all the choices, be that from finding a soul-mate to business to whatnot. Thus, their suffering does not seem to be realistic.

3. The Gagging Effect
Expect constant repetition with few simple ideas. (Every other page says that main character is beautiful or intelligent, or the viewpoint of the character on issues.)

4. Ellipses used incorrectly Effect
So...well...I'm supposed to talk about ellipses right? In Danielle Steel's novels, she is trying to go for emotional effect, but thus it creates the next effect...which is eye rolling.

5. Eye Rolling Effect
Due to the deities--oops, I mean characters' inhumanity, one will be tempted to roll eyes angrily towards the ceiling, contemplating the much deserved punishment of reading the novel.

6. I'm not an idiot Effect
Say, hadn't I seen that sentence two pages ago? I already know what the character thinks and feels Ms. Danielle Steel, please move on with the plot. Wait a minute, I saw that sentence two pages ago! I know that she's un-earthly beautiful and has a Sugar Daddy on her arm, but wait! There's that sentence again!

7. Tangled Unrealistic Resolutions Effect
Especially if it's a generational saga. The beginning is quick and a bit awkward, the present is slow and goes on for ages, while the ending is tied up rather clumsily. (In Family Album for instance, who is Lionel's mystery lover? Why didn't she go back to Lionel's point of view afterwards?)

8. Flat Characters Effect
Despite the numerous personality traits that Danielle Steel says the characters have, they are very flat, as in flatter than an asphalt, and are boring.

9. Point of view switches Effect
In one paragraph you'd have one character talking, and then you'd move on to another character's thoughts which were repeated just a few pages ago.

10. No colored heroes Effect
All the heroes are either European White or American White. There are no heroes that are African American or Asian for that matter. Why do I keep mentioning that? There are plenty of other authors that don't have colored heroes...the thing is, she had a few non WASPY heroines, (Russians, one Japanese by my count,) so with that, I'd like to see more heroes that are of non-White descent.

11. "China Dolls" Effect
The few books I read by Danielle Steel, I got an impression that there are certain stereotypes towards her Asian heroines. They are best described by the stereotype of "China Doll", an Asian woman being submissive and meek. (She uses Japanese heroines though.)

12. No Jewish heroines Effect
(No, the character in Echoes doesn't count because she converted... and since Judaism is passed down from mother to child, her children are no longer Jewish.) In numerous books she had Jewish heroes such as Fine Things (the first Danielle Steel book I've read,) and many of her female characters at one point married a Jewish male. (From Family Album, Anne to Bill Stein, From Zoya, Zoya to Simon, etc.) But I have yet to see any of her male characters marry a Jewish heroine. She does not describe Jewish women well: (She uses a J-A-P Jewish American Princess, which is a negative term, to describe one of her Jewish secondary characters.)

13. Dark haired Dark eyed Women are evil Effect
If you are a European or American white dark haired and dark eyed and love reading books about dark haired and dark eyed women, Danielle Steel's books are not for you. Many of her dark haired dark eyed women are best described as evil. (Crystal's mom and sister for instance from Star, or the family from Big Girl.)

14. Pointless References Effect
How is it important to a story that a certain character loves Chanel No 5? Or that they are reminded of that certain someone when that fragrance is nearby? Unless the character dies or they are separated, then make it important.

15. Inconsistency Effect
In Jewels, Danielle Steel mentioned how the superwoman is close to her sister, yet you barely hear from the sister. In Family Album, the Anne character is a flower child, yet she marries someone, and loves getting jewelry and diamonds. (She grew up without family love, yet she doesn't protest against these things?)

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