Sunday, 2 December 2018

‘DECEPTIONS’ BY JUDITH MICHAEL



I wish I could say I had a ball with Judith Michael’s first novel DECEPTIONS (1982, Pocket) but it ended up being just an OK experience and here’s why. Remember when I first saw the adapted miniseries on NBC back in the day, when network television actually took the time to produce glittery nighttime melodramas such as this one? No? Well, I talked about it here. LACE, SCRUPLES, HOLLYWOOD WIVES, all were adapted with big fanfares and big success. In the case of DECEPTIONS, however, it turned out being just a modest hit, but I digress. What I’m trying to say here is that problems of the rich ruled television in the ‘80s, and I was lucky enough to have seen my share of them. So it comes as no surprise that after salivating over the two-parter that was DECEPTIONS I needed to read the novel ASAP. Yes, I was that kind of a geeky gay. In fact, I still am. Duh! 

So one morning I took my sweet little ass to Coles bookstore and searched for the novel. I found it fast enough. It had the tie-in cover featuring star Stefanie Powers. Suffice to say, I was thrilled. Finally I was going to be able to get into the nitty-gritty of the two twins switching lives for a week. I mean, seeing it playing out on TV is more than fine but getting into the psyche of these characters in a 500 + page narrative is a lot better in my opinion. But surprise, surprise, it took me more than 10 years to read the thing. No, let me rephrase that. What I actually mean is that I waited more than 10 years to pick it up and read it. People who know me on this blog will probably recognize this pattern of mine, the tendency to give up on a read in favor of a juicier one, and at the time it was mostly Jackie Collins’ backlist. 

Cut to the end of the ‘90s and what do you know, I finally read that DECEPTIONS I so eagerly wanted. I come out of it satisfied but not wowed—and I never pick up a Judith Michael novel again, until this year when I decided to re-read it before embarking on its sequel A TANGLED WEB. Though I do think DECEPTIONS is still a fine specimen I am not again that keen over it, mostly because for the most part the novel turned out being more of a Harlequin romance-like story than anything else. There are a lot of ‘My love...’s thrown in in between fine narrative. And I feel that the story drags on a bit, mostly when the focus is on rich Sabrina becoming Stephanie the housewife. Not enough time is spent on the other sis, plain Stephanie now a UK jet setter, which is what I really wanted the book to delve into. And before you know it, kaboom! her life is taken away by the explosion of a yacht. So of course the focus is back on Sabrina. What a girl to do, right (no, not me; her)? Especially now that she’s tempted to stick with her new life and hunky professor hubby, who, by the way, still has no idea she isn’t really who she says she is despite having boned her more than once. I can hear you all declare, but, but you already knew all of this from the get go, and you’re right. I should have been ready for the deception (yes, I went there). I just wish the novel could have been better handled overall. I am in no hurry to read the sequel now. Oh I’ll get there, eventually. I just hope it’ll deliver the goods as it should, as all books should.





Until next post—Martin 
UK PB edition