The media meme for Joe McGinniss' book on Sarah Palin was: this is just too mean. For the competing Palin book by Levi Johnston, former finacee of Bristol Palin, the line is: this is just too poorly written. From prudery to snobbery! Come on people, it's not about style, it's about substance--gossip.
The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri dwells on Johnston's "inimitable prose," despite acknowledging he had ghostwriters. She quotes the book -- "I sucked in the smell of her perfume, Viva La Juicy, and was swept away. La Juicy was part of my oxygen supply, even for the year and a half we were apart."--and goes on a tear:
Listen to these sentences! They sound like what would happen if you got the hockey team drunk and forced them to retell The Great Gatsby. Forget jumping off the page. They jump off the page, take your wallet and spray you with chloroform.They practically run screaming out of the building. At least that is what I would do if I had written them.To say that his writing style is inimitable would imply that someone wanted to imitate it. It is a pastiche of a parody of a pastiche.It is a cross between the dialogue attributed to shirtless men on horseback in those novels that you read at the beach and the grunting, barely intelligible noises one makes at the dinner table between the ages of 13 and 20. ..What's curious is that, even as he denies the Palin clan, Levi's prose bears resemblance to nothing so much as -- Sarah's own meandering verbiage.
See that last one? Two zings in one!
The Washington Post's Reliable Source sarcastically calls the book, " great." Time's Bonnie Rochman, referring to Bristol's own book, published earlier this year, "The very idea of two 20-somethings penning memoirs is in itself an insult to the genre. The fact that the memoirs are fueled largely by he-said-she-said versions of who had teen sex and when amounts to a whole bunch of TMI."
The New York Observer's Drew Grant says of Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs, "The whole book reads sort of like a Penthouse letter, except a terrible one that quotes a lot from poorly-written text messages. Even the animal metaphors don't make sense. ... It's enough to make us wish someone involved in this book had gotten their high school diploma." Grant quotes Johnston:
"I loved every inch of her. I was about to make this statement with my hands when Bristol laid her hand over mine. It felt like a cold salmon. … My parents, she told me, are having another baby. She said the word parents with air quotes."
Grant quips, "Scandal: Bristol Palin is adopted?" Is it so hard to imagine these teen rednecks are capable of sarcasm?
National Journal's Sarah Mimms is slightly nicer, saying, "the true genius of the book is Johnston's ability to capture his own failings, in a way only a teen-father/wanna-be-celebrity can."
Come on, people, but what's in the book? What previously-unalleged things are alleged by this admittedly fame-hungry bit player in the Palin drama?
- That Bristol got pregnant on purpose to compete with her mom.
- That he was present for the birth of his son Tripp, which the Palins deny.
- Bristol said Levi wouldn't sign away parental rights "because it would look bad on paper."
- When Palin said her nomination to be vice-president was God's plan, it was "the first time I had ever heard her mention the fella. Whether the message originated from heaven or from Arizona, the content was the same."
- Levi was "too dumb" to use contraception.
- Bristol thought her career as an abstinence advocate was pretty funny. "My babe had now been transformed into a sexual-abstinence advocate... I told her it sounded sexy dirty to me." They laughed, then, "She caught her breath enough to tell me that, when her mom first mentioned this career possibility to her, Bristol asked her what abstinence was. She was just joshing me, making fun. She was collecting piles of money describing the horrors of teen pregnancy and before that, of course, teen sex. Which every single kid Bristol and I knew was engaged in. Give me a break."
- Bristol relationship with her mom was straight out of The Graduate. As Mimms writes, "Guess who was Benjamin?"
- Bristol lied when she told Levi she was on birth control.
- Palin wanted to adopt Bristol's baby to "avoid scandal."
- Willow Palin cusses a lot.
- They tried to keep the pregnancy secret, but Willow found the positive pregnancy test in the bathroom.
- Levi expects a 30 Years War with the Palins.