Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: Too Rich & Too Thin: Not an Autobiography

Too Rich and Too Thin: Not an Autobiography
Barbara DeShong

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: September 2009

Publisher: Echelon Press

Pages: 376

Author Site:

My Rating: 2.5/5

Source: Received for review from Phenix & Phenix Publicity
Pack your bags for Texas and prepare to meet the strangest family since that little Chainsaw Massacre incident.

Psychologist Jessica LeFave will be your guide, but be forewarned, Dr. LeFave isn’t your average shrink, and though her wisecracking lawyer buddy, will try to keep Jessica out of trouble, he might not be able to save you, or himself.

Your journey opens when Jessica is summoned to profile the killer who drove a spike through the heart of the notorious Bernice Jackson. Jessica is more than a little excited. Not because Bernice Jackson is dead, but because Bernice who'd soared to fame and wealth by shamelessly re-writing treasured historical events into wildly successful soft-porn novels and movies was a psychiatry patient of her husband's at the time of his death.

You see, Jessica is convinced her husband was murdered to bury a secret revealed in therapy. Since watching him dragged from the bottom of Lake Austin a Hilton receipt and another woman’s wedding rings in his pocket Jessica has been a little crazy, obsessing over his files, even stalking patients with dodgy reputations.

The police dismiss her claims, leaving Jessica on her own to land your Texas tour smack in the middle of the bizarre movie-making family starring a doped up basket case son, a daughter on a death wish eating binge, and the ghost of Bernice Jackson who'd pushed her obsession with seeing herself as young and beautiful beyond any psychotic dream.


TOO RICH AND TOO THIN is a roller coaster of a read. I say that while holding my enthusiasm at bay because frankly I found myself a little queasy as I read the novel. No blood and guts or gory details here that make things churn within. It’s more the fact that the author had me running in circles with her writing, her characters, and her details in general. But I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the ride. There were times I was very into the story but those times I think the author paid greater attention to her details. I found the writing all over the place at times like the author’s thoughts themselves were scattered. The story was odd, quirky, but entertaining for the most part. I don’t regret reading it by any means but I think I’m going to be somewhat hesitant about picking up another Jessica LeFave mystery.

But let me go into some of the story and characters briefly. There’s much to like about Jessica. She’s definitely determined, I’ll give her that…relentless even! She is 110% sure that her husband’s death was no accident. To Jessica, her beloved, fellow psychologist, hubby was murdered! Not only murdered but his reputation has been tarnished with all the evidence pointing to an affair, alcohol, and a voluntary (or accidental) drive off a cliff. Despite evidence and non-believing law enforcement, Jessica sets out to find who is responsible. And she may just have a huge lead in her newest murder investigation. She is out to profile the killer of Bernice Jackson and her husband. Bernice, who happens to be late Dr. LeFave’s patient, is notorious for her history re-writing skills in the soft porn industry. Jessica has no idea the pickle she’s about to get herself into and just how twisted things are about to get in her life.

Even with Jessica’s tenacity she’s an easily likable character. But there are just times when she turned me off for one reason or another. Speaking of turn offs – the several remaining characters in the novel definitely had their “what the hell?” moments. Let me explain… There are numerous characters in Jessica’s journey. The entire Jackson family is quite frankly the weirdest characters I’ve come into contact with in quite some time. Even as I say that I find I’m not totally upset with that fact. They were entertaining despite their extremely odd and sometimes scary behavior and personalities. To put it nicely the family is just plain crazy. Do they make for a good read? Eh, depends on the reader’s mood I think. I found myself scatter-brained through many passages and thoroughly engaged in others. I think it’s definitely a love/hate relationship with this book and its characters.

The story in itself was kind of…well weird. I gotta admit I enjoyed the ending, but the entire journey as a whole left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Kind of like eating something that tastes okay at first then has this yucky aftertaste. *sigh* I don’t want to be harsh with this book because honestly I enjoyed several parts of it. I even liked the underlying message that the author was putting out there…obsession with youth and weight can definitely drive some people to do horrible and crazy things. But the bigger picture is I didn’t love the book. Yes, it can be humorous at times but just a slig Like I said earlier, I wouldn’t automatically say no to another Jessica LeFave mystery. I just think I’m gonna be somewhat hesitant if in fact I decide to read another of the author’s books. But don’t let me deter you from reading it. Even if it's not really my cup o’tea, I can still see the novel hitting a homerun with other readers. You may be one of them!

As a side-note I gained some great background information from Barbara DeShong’s guest post that I put up yesterday. Weight issues and youth is definitely a topic that will probably always be of interested to society. Her novel is just a slice of the big pie of said issues and I admire the way the author was able to pull of her message.


brizmus said...

this sounds like, wellm, um, something I wouldn't really like. great review, though!

Ladytink_534 said...

It sounds interesting but that cover just doesn't appeal to me and I'm ashamed to say I would pass this one up because of it if I didn't know anything about the story.

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