Book Review: "Genuine Fraud" by E.Lockhart*


Oh boy, where do I begin? You know how I normally have long intros and babble on like one of the Gilmore Girls? How I like to be positive, bake cookies and spread kindness (with a side of sarcasm, ofc)? All I can say is that I`m no writer and I appreciate the work that someone puts into their work. However, when a book is a complete rip off of something else, it is hard to be kind. So I`m sorry if I`ll offend anyone with this review. I`m not going to deny that E.Lockhart is a talented writer and state that when "We Were Liars" came out, I highly enjoyed it. But this book is a fraud. Because it`s the gender-swap, reverse story of "The Talented Mr Ripley".

SPOILERS AHEAD
I get that nowadays it`s hard to write something truly original. Everything was inspired by something else. But this book was a copy, a case of stolen identity if you will. Come on, even the murder weapon and the scenario is the same. On top of that, whilst the situation was plausible in the 50`s, it`s hard to believe that it can work nowadays.

I have not read "The Talented Mr Ripley", but I`ve seen the movie countless times. It`s one of my favourites, from the impressive cast to the beautiful locations. The story and especially that ending is a masterpiece. (and Jude Law has a cute bum bum, so yeah) I`d totally recommend it and I might tell you to read "Genuine Fraud" afterwards just so you see what a mess it is.

Anyways, change Tom Ripley into Jule, Dickie into Imogen, Marge into Forrester and you have the cast of "Genuine Fraud". The love for jazz is replaced by the love for Victorian literature, which made it a bit more likeable, but not enough to save it. Other than the confusing reverse-chronological storytelling it`s pretty much the same to the movie/book. I mean, it`s terrible rip-off, but hey ho. And whilst the movie ends with an open ending that suggests that Tom is going further and further down the rabbit hole and he will eventually get caught, our psychopath walks free. The thing is, I was able to connect somewhat with Tom due to Matt Damon`s good acting. But the way Jule is portrayed, you feel no connection to her whatsoever. Everyone in the book is a one-dimensional, shallow person. The book has no substance, just a fancy setting. 

The one thing I partially liked about this book was the feminist vibes. The book constantly challenges the way women are viewed by society:

"She knew that women were rarely the centers of such stories. Instead, they were eye candy, arm candy, victims, or love interests. Mostly, they exited to help the great white hetero hero on his fucking epic journey."

However, there was a quote that annoyed the hell out of me: "she was scrappy yet willing to please, feminist yet feminine". Like I said, this book had a pro girl power message, so I was confused about that part. Are feminist supposed to be angry, manly looking witches? Because hey, I`m a feminist and I like lipsticks and pretty dresses. And other feminists don`t, but feminism is not a "one size fits all" type of thing.

Maybe if I hadn`t seen "The Talented Mr Ripley" I might have given this book 3 stars. But because it`s such a cheap knock-off, I can`t give it more than 1 star. I`m not trying to discredit the author, but I think it`s lazy to take the complete story from another book and just tweak it a bit to make it your own. 

* I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.

3 comments :

  1. I was not a fan of this one. I haven't read or seen The Talented Mr. Ripley, but I just heavily disliked the characters... a lot!

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  2. Aww... I'm sorry to see this was so disappointing. :( I can definitely see where you're coming from though. Nonetheless, thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

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  3. Why would anyone just copy it though! Such laziness!
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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