Easy by Tammara Webber
Publication Date: May 24, 2012
Target audience: Mature Young Adult or New Adult
Keywords: rape, self-defense, break-ups, college, music major
Format read: Purchased for my Kindle.
Summary: After an unexpected break-up with her boyfriend, Jacqueline attends a frat party where her ex-boyfriend’s friend tried to rape her. She’s saved by Lucas who she repeatedly runs into on campus after the attack.
I’ve been a huge fan of Tammara Webber’s (revist my reviews of Where You Are and Good For You). I’ve really enjoyed her colorful characters, fun plot lines, and the need to devour her books. I felt her writing was only growing stronger; when reviews of Easy started popping up proclaiming its awesomeness, I knew I had to finally hunker down and read the book that had been sitting untouched on my kindle.
Maybe I allowed the hype to get to my head and I put Easy on a pedestal, positive it would be a home run. Maybe it just wasn’t the book for me.
I found that Jacqueline was a girl I just did not connect with. In the beginning, she’s attacked by a fraternity brother of her ex-boyfriend. He tries to take advantage of her and Lucas saves her. I imagine a sense of panic and feelings of nervousness moving forward with life after an event such as this. I didn’t feel the weight of this nearly as much as I would have liked to. I felt the focus was much more on finding out about Lucas, Jacqueline getting over her ex-boyfriend, her catching up on a class she neglected after her bad breakup, and the happenings of her roommate.
There were so many things I walked away from Easy knowing, but ultimately, I didn’t see a whole lot of Jacqueline in all of that. She’s a music major who tutors a lot during the week and supposedly spends lots of time practicing to perfect her skill. Until the last few chapters, those things never caused much conflict in her schedule and were on the very periphery of her story. (I remember being a college student: Life is all about the deadlines.) I felt like everyone else defined who Jacqueline was as a main character, but I didn’t have a good grasp on the things she proclaimed to love. I felt very distanced from her as a reader.
The majority of the time, it seemed she went out of her way to meet up with Lucas and dropped everything to be at his beck and call. I really liked Lucas’ personality — very much, actually, but I did have some pretty major drawbacks when it came to understanding who he was though. One thought that crossed through my mind several times was: Is there nothing this boy can’t do? Is there anything he doesn’t do perfectly? He tutors, works at Starbucks, beats up assholes trying to victimize women, teaches self-defense classes, knows how to sketch anything and everything, is a full time student and professor’s assistant, a campus handyman, and oh, is mind blowing at sex. I understand the appeal: Lucas is what every girl wants but can’t have. He’s got tattoos, a lip ring, longish hair, rides a motorcycle, and has a nicely toned body. He’s not very realistic. I could not mesh the tattooed barista with the nerdy scholar who would somehow have time to workout, learn to draw, or have any semblance of a normal life (or get a single minute of sleep, ever).
While great points were made discussing the importance of turning in victimizers, reporting rapes, and knowing a few moves to protect yourself from said a-holes, I found myself slightly displaced. I didn’t feel like I was actively a part of the story, but instead staring down at a little college village where life was happening with these people I could not connect with. I didn’t have a problem putting down the book and walking away for a day; the story didn’t suck me in and consume me.
While I will not discount the subject matter Webber chose to take on, I will admit that I very much felt like Easy was trying to make a point to me. I read reviews about books that mention religion and someone will say, “I felt like the author was preaching to me.” I walked away with the exact same sentiment. The message was very clear, but I felt this was another disconnect for me. Instead of imagining Jacqueline taking the self-defense classes, I felt I needed to be taking notes so I would know how to protect myself. I do think Webber’s message — women need to know how to protect themselves — is a very important one and I wholeheartedly agree; I simply wish the message didn’t overcompensate for the character development I felt was lacking.
[I realize I’m in the very small minority of people who have written a less-than-glowing review for Easy. That being said, I do think you should check out Easy by Tammara Webber. It’s only $5.99 on Amazon!]