Yes, It's A Review

This weekend I am heading to the Bay Area for (hopefully) Snack-a-palooza TAKE II. (You can see Snackapalooza I here) I am very excited. More to come on that later. Happy Memorial Day to all!

But now, I give you...a book review.

Tarantula Woman by Donald O'Donovan

This is a story about an American man living in Juarez, Mexico. He has a job translating and writing letters in English for his clients in Juarez, who are mainly whores. Aside from them being his clients, he is also frequently theirs.

It seems the author does have a personal experience with Juarez, or at least Mexico. He details the city and the characters well. However, other than that, he does not really seem to have a very intriguing story line. The book goes on and on about the main characters exploits with different whores. Other than that, the main character never seems to have any money, but always seems to have plenty of drink and women.

I did find it fascinating to imagine this life that I have no idea about, this life in Juarez, one of the more dangerous cities, and it’s seduction to Americans who can easily go over the border and enjoy what it has to offer. The author makes Juarez seem like a fun and exciting place to be, whereas I always pictured it as a mixture of gangs, violence and drugs.

I was also interested when he spoke a little about the Mexicans trying to marry an American in order to get a green card. In one passage a girl he liked at the time wanted to marry him but he wasn’t ready so she tried to sneak over the border through a culvert. It rained really hard and she and several others got washed from the culvert and caught by the authorities. Again, the struggle intrigues me. I like to be able to feel what others feel and by reading this section of the book, I had an idea of how hard it must be.

I think this author is trying too hard to be a modern day Hemingway. Just like Hemingway, the focus of the book is on booze and women. The only thing he is missing is fishing or bullfighting or some other manly sport. However, as fun as booze and women can seem, I think it is missing an actual story.  You can’t have an entire plot based on getting drunk and getting laid.

In conclusion, I would have to give this book 2 out of 5 stars. Although the characters had the potential to be very interesting and several of the scenes were eye-opening to me, it did not have a very developed story line.

Note: I received this book free from LibraryThing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  


  1. I'm not a fan of Hemingway. I know I'm supposed to think he's so great because I'm a writer, but I just can't make myself care about his books at all.

    It sounds like this Tarantula Woman book is definitely NOT for me. Thanks for the review!

  2. Sounds interesting although like Karen, I probably won't read the book either. I always think of the movie In Love and War with Chris O'Donnell when I think of Hemingway, even though I know it is not very historically accurate :)


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