Two For Tuesday Part One: Silver Ladies of Penny Lane by Dee MacDonald

image-376Tess and Orla have been best friends throughout most of their adult lives. So when life gave them lemons and their loved ones let them down, they pooled their resources and bought a dressmakers shop on the corner of Penny Lane. And they’ve been doing just fine ever since.    Or have they?

I have read and adored Dee MacDonald’s books in the past, specifically The Runaway Wife. I was very excited to read The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane especially since the ladies, Tess and Orla, sounded just a bit like me. They are a tad older than I am, but not by much, single, own their own dress shop for plus sized women and are in need of a change of pace in their lives. Tess, particularly, is trying to lose weight before her daughter’s wedding and doesn’t wish to appear to be washed up and left behind in life. I completely understand how she feels. I think there are many women who reach this age who feel that way after our kids are grown and starting their own lives. So I settled down for a nice read with the silver ladies.

Sadly, I found myself dismayed on multiple levels almost to the point that I barely finished reading the book at all. The women own a shop for plus sized women and are overweight themselves. Yet the remarks that they make about their customers are horrible and extremely unkind, mean in fact. For my health I have lost over 70 pounds, so I’m keenly aware of body image. The statements made by the women in this bookdxes are the very things that keep most women from ever stepping foot in a shop like this in the first place. I was utterly appalled! Secondly, I can assure you that if I had a friend who sabotaged my dieting efforts and belittled my thoughts and efforts as often and as fiercely as Orla did to Tess, we would not have been friends for more than a few days, much less for years. She is a horrible friend. I didn’t find her funny. I found her terrible, a bully. And thirdly, some of the dates that these women found themselves on were nothing short of rape! To put these into a context of “humor” is shameful! To suggest that it is okay because everyone is older or senile or overweight or frumpy or whatever we were supposed to think is simply egregious. There was nothing funny about any of this. From negative body images, stereotypes about overweight women, age discrimination to condoning date rape, this is not a book I recommend at all and I am disappointed that it is out there for others to read at all. This is not a matter of being a “snowflake” or too PC, this is a matter of women standing up for what is right and what should not be allowed. Rarely do I give a one star review but this time I think it is very deserved. I am 58 years old and very proud of not being frumpy, silver haired, desperate or willing to put up with a man sexually assaulting me or any other woman – ever! In fact, I don’t need a man at all – and neither do you!

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21 thoughts on “Two For Tuesday Part One: Silver Ladies of Penny Lane by Dee MacDonald

  1. Praise the lord to the skies and back. Omg omg Mackey… I have been saying the same. I gave 1 star too. I was in the blog tour and refused to review this book. The women were mean. I am fat and I won’t kiss a guy because he has bought a great dinner. Yuck. I agree it is rape if the woman is not in her senses… The way Tess was shown was simply icky.
    It is not about age at all. It is about what you think of yourself. I am fat but never so desperate to sleep with guys on first date or go camping in the middle of nowhere. I was shocked by her behavior abd author’s justification. There are few of us who have hated this book on NG, yet the other women have gushing reviews. I don’t care what age I am, but I will never behave in this manner. This was simply not about aging gracefully and finding confidence in oneself. It was only about finding a man. The friendship was so bad. I don’t have friends like that, and I am so thankful about it.
    This was definitely one of the worst books I have read this year and I have read real awful one’s. But this made me get so angry with the author, a woman herself, for portraying a woman in this manner.
    Whew end of rant. I have been feeling so awful after reading this book

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    1. Thank you Shalini!! I am so sorry that this book made you feel bad. I was raging about it for days. I cannot understand why publishers allow books like this to go into print. It is not healthy, the one hotel scene wasn’t even legal! It’s simply not acceptable. There has to come a time when women stand up and say that fat shaming, age shaming and sexual perversion in the form of date rap are not okay – not in real life and not in fiction. It’s not funny. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the book. I honestly thought I would be the outlier once again.

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      1. This is one of the reasons that I don’t get involved in too many blog tours. I understand the desire to promote a book. However, that is all that they are doing – book promotions. I started my blog to review books. There are far too many book blogs that are merely promoting books regardless of whether or not the book deserves the praise. That is how we end up with less than adequate books and authors. I understand that everyone has differing tastes and book choices. I love reading reviews of fantasy books even though I don’t read them. However, there is a difference between not liking a book and a book being so horrible that it should not have gone to press either because the writing was horrible or the content was. At that point, a reader or a reviewer has the obligation to tell the truth.

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  2. Mackay, what a honest and open review and it sounds this books deserved it! What was the writer thinking? And even more shocking since you’ve enjoyed Dee’s books in the past. A real shame for her and reading the comments I feel this is a book that has upset many and will damage the writer’s reputation going forward. Thanks for the warning! Hope your next book to be read is uplifting and joyful.

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    1. Thank you so much Annika. I wish that, rather than dismissing us, the publisher had listened to those us who did have real issues with the book and had Dee do some adjusting with the book. The entire book didn’t need a rewrite, just certain phrases and the hotel scene where the date rap occurred. It wouldn’t have been my favorite book still, but it wouldn’t have been so horrific. I honestly thought that is what ARCs were meant for. There are so many other great books coming out this summer that I cannot wait to share with all of you. This was just a tiny blip.

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  3. Sounds horrible! Thanks for an honest review and giving heads up. I want to feel moved, entertained and inspired after reading a book, not depressed and questioning my worth! Hope your next read is something great ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much!! There are a lot of those books coming out this summer! I’m excited to share them. I have been hesitant to write reviews lately because I couldn’t get past this one. Isn’t that terrible? Now that it is out of the way, there are so many great books that I’ve read just waiting to be reviewed. 🙂

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  4. B Lostinacoulee

    Great review, Mackey! Sometimes books hit that anger trigger in and you need to shout just how it made you feel. You handled it well. I often have issues with books that try to take concerns and make it funny. Not my kind of humor either.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You know, Mackey, I initially wrote a review that glossed over some of these problems and it’s been niggling at me ever since I hit publish. Everything you wrote about here perfectly encapsulates what is unfortunate about this book … I think I was enchanted by some of the ideas presented rather than the actual execution. Embarrassing, really. And going further, I think I was overly generous because I was sympathetic to Tess … everyone was just so damn mean to her! Fat shaming and date rape do not a book make. There’s a good book hidden around her somewhere, but this wasn’t it.

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  6. Oh dear, I have this one to read and have been waiting to get to it, now I am not so sure I will read it at all. I am also overweight, okay, fat, obese whatever term you want to use, but I don’t need someone else to make fun of me for it. Fat shaming is terrible and for an author to think it is acceptable, I am surprised. Thanks for being honest Mackey.

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