It was our first Christmas as a married couple. We had a whopping five months of marriage under our belts and were enjoying a big Reynolds family Christmas holiday at the Outer Banks in NC. I was a new bride, slightly on edge around a family that was loud, wonderful, brash, exuberant, and completely different from my own.
Daman, my husband, is the third of five brothers. Marriage opened my eyes to many things about the differences between men and women. But, one of the staggering contrasts was how much men like to be naked as often as possible. And I don't mean the honeymoon kind of naked you're thinking (get your mind out of the gutters. . ) I mean naked for no purpose at all--like clothes are a constant and annoying reminder of that pesky evolution. I would NEVER just lounge around naked and, 20 years later, I am still completely bewildered by the fact that my husband would prefer be naked at all times if there was any societal norm that would accept it.
Back to Christmas.
Daman and his brother decided to take a brisk dip in the ocean very late one night. I followed them out and found their clothes in a pile in the sand. Of course they got naked, of course they did. I felt a surge of courage, some thrill of madness that this was the moment I could really join the family. I could be one of these wild Reynolds, I really could.
I snatched up the clothes and ran, Daman and Brady's voices bellowing at me from the waves.
I was a wild woman.
Then. . . . I started to think.
What if a young mother and her child walked by when Daman and Brady were streaking back to the house?
What if it was a policeman?
What if they got arrested for indecent exposure?
What if they scarred some group of young teenage girls forever and it was all my fault??
My wild woman status wilted. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't risk being a part of some sort of midnight beach trauma because I'd left my husband and brother in law to run naked along the shore. I scooped up the clothes and ran them back out to where they'd been.
Daman's thrilling pride in my foray into Reynolds mischief was sadly short lived. I am a very incompetent prankster. I just think too much about consequences. When we used to be able to cross the Canadian border to go out to dinner, I'd declare every morsel of leftovers when we'd cross back into the country, turning over my samosas to the drug dogs if they asked.
This personality quirk means I haven't gotten very many traffic tickets or won many poker games. It also meant I really couldn't enjoy this book. What I thought would be a whimsical romp just stressed me out the entire time because Finlay had actually really been a part of terrible crime and somehow I was supposed to cheer for her and hope she got away with it?
Based on the other reviews of this book, yes, that is exactly what I was supposed to do. And thousands of other readers were able to do just that. But, mostly, I was just annoyed. I was annoyed that she got herself into the mess. I was annoyed at all the plot gymnastics that had to happen to make things line up. And I was annoyed that there was no real settling up at the end, it all just sort of worked out.
It really bugs me when books do that.
I finished this book because it was for a book club. But, to be honest, if I'd just been reading it on my own--I would have bailed. There were some very clever turns and the main character has a decent journey of empowerment, but mostly it felt forced and contrived and it made me feel like she really should have just left the clothes on the beach and walked away.
P.S. I feel it important to note that I do not stand in judgement of successful pranksters. Rather, I stand in awe of your ability to push through all the "what if" scenarios and go through with it. I also hope I never make you angry at me or play you in poker.