Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson



[Please note that today is the last day for leaving a comment on one of my blogs for a chance at winning the $40 bookstore gift certificate. Winner announced tomorrow, so please check back.]

I'm so glad I bought Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson (2009) for a bargain price at Barnes & Noble, though even that approximately $5 was too much to spend on this one.

Lulu Sawyer, not her real name, of course, is an American spy living with her English lover, Ian, in Marrakech. She stumbles around through most of the book, seeming rather clueless about Ian and everyone else who comes across her path. She seems to lack any ability to determine the credibility of others, and I kept thinking she had no idea of what was actually happening all around her.

And don't expect lovely backdrop details about life in Marrakech as an ex-pat or anything else remotely positive in this book. Middle Eastern characters don't fare well, though, again, I can't say Lulu and Ian fare well in their portrayals, either. I didn't find anyone remotely easy to like.

Lulu's friend, Posy, actually spends most of her time expressing charming thoughts like, "Islamic men should just be nuked, or put on a desert island, and all the children raised by English nannies with sensible views, to start them out on a better footing."

No, I can't even really articulate how much I disliked this book. Besides the overall character not fitting her occupation--heard of any completely stupid spies lately?--some of the writing passages were stilted to the point I could barely believe a native English speaker, let alone a professional author, wrote them.

You may have read one or more of Johnson's bestsellers, including Le Divorce and Le Mariage. I haven't. Anyone read anything by
her and loved, or even just liked, the book?

You can learn more about this book, including the option of reading the first seven chapters for free, at PenguinBooks here. I'll be surprised if anyone likes those seven chapters well enough to pursue reading the rest of the book, but please drop me a comment if I'm wrong!

My overall personal rating of Lulu in Marrakech is a D.

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