Soap Operas Aren’t This Melodramatic: Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel

Did I ever mention I wanted to write soap operas…

I’m sure I did.

This book is what gives soaps a bad name.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a soap opera that is this messed up since the network was purposely trying to cancel All My Children and they had Dixie die by tainted pancakes.

God, that was a horrible storyline.

Vivian Divine read like that era of daytime television that many people have tried to forget its existence.  To be honest, I wasn’t planning on giving this book such a low rating, but the last act and its borderline offensive tone kept me from giving it a passable rating.

Before I begin my rant I guess I should tell you what this book is about:

Filled with surprising twists and poignant moments, Lauren Sabel brings a fresh new voice to contemporary fiction with Vivian Divine Is Dead. Creepy, clever, funny, and romantic.

When a death threat arrives with teen celebrity Vivian Divine’s fan mail, Vivian has no choice but to go on the run to Mexico. She soon discovers, though, that her Oscar-nominated performance killing villains on-screen did nothing to prepare her for escaping a madman in real life. Some people say he’s a hero, others tremble in his presence, but one thing is clear: he won’t stop until Vivian is in his grasp. Why didn’t she pay more attention during those judo lessons for her role in Zombie Killer?

Vivian finds an ally in the mysterious and charming Nick. He is everything Hollywood boys are not-genuine, kind, and determined to see Vivian for who she really is. But even he seems like he can’t be trusted-what could he be hiding?

Beat up, hungry, and more confused than ever about who she’s running from, Vivian is living in a real-life blockbuster horror flick. But there’s no option to yell “cut” like there is on set….

Lauren Sabel’s Vivian Divine Is Dead is a creepy, witty, fast-paced adventure about family, fame, and having the courage to save yourself.

Source: GoodReads

Yeah, based on the summary I should’ve known what I was getting into.  But I expected the book to be zany fun.  Instead of culturally offensive melodrama.

And yes, I said culturally offensive since its views on Mexico were…well, borderline offensive (to me at least).  I’m from Texas and the Mexican culture plays a large part of the culture here.  Unlike Vivian, I was well aware of what the day of the dead was.  What basic Mexican cuisine is.  And I can ask what is your name in Spanish without making an ass of myself.

Given that Southern California has a huge Mexican population too, you’d think Vivian wouldn’t be so shocked with Mexican culture.  But nope.  Girl treats the country like it’s a third world country.  I think Sabel wanted sort of a Romancing the Stone effect  which was why she had Vivian act like such an ignoramus, but here’s the deal, Joan Wilder tried to absorb her culture to some degree and she had a right to be annoyed with Michael Douglass, he destroyed her expensive heels.  Nick, he didn’t destroy Vivian’s shoes.  Though he was a big little bit of a chauvinistic jerk.

Add the fact that their relationship is spurred by insta love….

You have a very annoyed reader.

That’s not even the worst thing about this book.

I could look over these things-well, not so much the culturally offensive part because in a genre that it so WASP filled as YA any time there’s some sort of potential to diversity I get really upset when it ends up like this-the book gets worse though.

That’s in its third act that makes little or no sense.

At least soap operas sort of build up to their ridiculous twists.  Look at General Hospital.  As ridiculous as their polonium poisoning story was, Ron Carlivati (the head writer of the show) built up the storyline enough so I could at least sort of buy it.  Here though, there’s no build up.  Revelations are just thrown at you.  I think some people might argue that it’s just a part of the style that the book is written in, but no…just no…you have to have some build up.  Even if you want to do a plot that’s dirty and fast.

It probably didn’t help that while some revelations came out of nowhere, some were just so obvious you had to laugh at the stupidity of the main character.  Serious.  Run away from Mexico because you believe the FBI and police are after you for no apparent reason when you know absolutely no Spanish. And have no survival skills.



Do you see the stupidity of this?

If you don’t then I worry about your survival on this planet.

Overall, this one just didn’t work for me.  Maybe if I wasn’t so cerebral when I read, I could enjoy this one more.  But at the same time, anyone who has half a brain and knows anything about Mexican culture is likely to get annoyed.  The best thing I can say about this book is I got to practice my Spanish reading skills by trying to translate all the Spanish that Vivian didn’t understand.  Given that most of this is elementary Spanish, that’s really not saying much.

Overall Rating: F.  Yeah, it fails.  This MC is just too dumb to function and The Three Amigos  portrays Mexico better than this book.