Twelve Times Blessed by Jacquelyn Mitchard

June 17, 2010

Plot summary (with spoilers): 43-year-old True Dickenson is the millionaire owner of an Internet/mail-order business, called Twelve Times Blessed, that is essentially a gift-of-the-month club for babies. True has been widowed for the past 8 years, and is currently raising 10-year-old son Guy on her own. She’s not exactly looking for love, but finds it anyway when out celebrating her birthday with friends at a restaurant. There, she meets 33-year-old Hank Bannister, a handsome, charming man from Louisiana who immediately sweeps her off her feet.

Hank and True go through a whirlwind romance and end up getting married within six weeks or so of meeting. Everyone talks about how Hank must be after True’s money, given the age difference and the difference in the hotness scale. The rumors bother True, especially since she has her own misgivings about Hank — particularly when he begins to resent all the demands a marriage and family place on him.

The two start fighting all the time, and soon split up. They remain that way for a few months, even though True is pregnant and isn’t relishing the thought of having another child on her own. As the book drags on and on, however, the two start talking again, and after their daughter is born, they agree to give their relationship another try.

Liked:

  • The product descriptions of the Twelve Times Blessed gifts were interesting. They sounded whimsical and cute, exactly the kind of thing I’d want for my baby.

Disliked:

  • Hank and True’s first sex scene made me roll my eyes. Am I supposed to believe that these two adults (33 and 43, respectively) wouldn’t use any kind of protection in this day and age? They even discussed it, which was the worst part of the scene. True was willing to risk a pregnancy with a guy she had “known” for all of two weeks at that time? And she actually said that if he had some kind of rare venereal disease, she wouldn’t mind catching the same thing so she could die with him??? OMFG, gag me.
  • Hot on the heels of that ridiculous sex scene came an even more ridiculous, awkwardly written post-coital “talk”. This dragged on and on and on, and was not believable in the least. I’m not sure what Mitchard was trying to do there, but the result was sheer boredom. It was plain ol’ exposition disguised as a “discussion”, and it was crap.
  • The dialogue was cringe-worthy in so many places that it would be impossible for me to include all the bad lines here. But they were particularly noticeable during Hank’s proposal. “Will you always be my woman — and my whore, too?” Are you serious???? If any guy said that to me, I’d slap him on the spot. Was that supposed to be sexy or something? WTF??? And what man would insult the woman he’s proposing to by asking, “Are you being deliberately dense?” when she couldn’t figure out what his cryptic high school thumb ring was for. What a dumb scene all the way around.
  • I listened to the audiobook version and couldn’t stand how the reader alternated between pronouncing Guy the French way and the American way. I mean, sometimes this happened in the same paragraph, with the same character speaking. It was so damn annoying!!! How hard would it have been to choose one pronunciation and stick with it?
  • Guy’s whole play storyline was dumb, boring, and unnecessary. What was the point, especially since he didn’t even perform due to his appendix problem? And why did the bitchy stage mom have to be a Christian? I am not religious, but that still rubbed me the wrong way. If Mitchard had made the woman a Jew or a Muslim, she would have been accused of being intolerant at best. But make the bitch a Christian and everything’s A-OK? Whatever.
  • I never bought the idea that Hank — and his family — loved Guy as much as the author said they did. First Hank was so overwhelmed and bothered by Guy hanging around that he snapped and considered leaving, but the next thing you know, he’s adopting Guy, calling him “my son”, acting like he and the boy have a deep, special bond. This, after two months? Whatever, especially considering the fact that Guy absolutely was a spoiled brat with no sense of boundaries, just like Hank said. This is the kind of kid who manipulates his mother into buying things like a laptop or playstation 3 because she dares to pay attention to someone other than him. Also, I hated how I was supposed to believe that Hank’s parents accepted Guy into the family as the “first Bannister grandson”, giving him an heirloom and everything despite the fact that a blood-related grandchild was just born. Yeah, right.
  • Don’t even get me started on how horrible a character True was. It was hard to believe that she was supposed to be a 43-year-old woman, because she acted like she was in high school. Everything had to be all about her, and if she didn’t get her way, she blew up or pouted. She was so demanding, such a whiner, so inconsiderate…. She and Hank — also a complete idiot — totally deserve to be with each other. At least it saves two other people from hooking up with assholes.
  • This book was just too damn long. The only reason I even finished it was because I was on an equally long road trip (alone) and needed something to listen to. But my god, it was torture.

Rating:

Twelve Times Blessed was one of the worst books I’ve ever read (listened to). The characters are thoroughly unlikable, their conflicts were ridiculous and contrived, and the author just didn’t know when to quit. I would give this 0 stars because I hated it so much, but since I reserve that rating for books I can’t even finish, I have to give this 1 star out of 5. Do yourself a favor and AVOID it at all costs!

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