the best BAD book ever written

That’d be the 70s phenomenon ‘The Thornbirds’


I initially read it in a Russian translation, which must’ve smoothed over the badness – cos I didn’t figure out what on earth Germaine Greer meant by the titular quote


After   looking into the original i, indeed, found the the writing flowery&/questioning why on Earth this super hottie doesn’t;t ditch the robe& Run off to Tinseltown.

but the gruesome female realities stayed with me./  I read this @16 (while being a far more clued lassie than i;d have preferred ) it was still unflinchingly graphic in its; description of Maggie being marital-raped 3(!)times in/a row on her wedding night< leaving/ her in so much pain/that she cannot move &must share the bed with her internal batterer. It later goes into why  it hurts this much : <the spouse uses 30s condoms . When she later tricks him into baby making <<the ordeal goes down easier.

Bizarro graphic element was the……….tit-f*cking..which the husband  Contends with out of his kind heart(lol) to spare her more intercourse  horror. Weirdly, in the TV version -they pushed his homosocial nature  far enough  to almost seem closeted .

Colleen was a strange wench with a strange writing style .It was both incredibly good &Incredibly awful simultaneously. Her talent lay in creating such a vivid fiery atmosphere ,that the soap opera somehow managed to transcend itself. There;s no other author like her .


The reason she belongs on my man-hating blog : is the lady herself +the reason for her choosing this plot. She was rather a character:

A Cambridge neuroscientist in 60s ::she found herself not being paid the family wage the men were -even after Equal PAy came in. she turned to writing to supplement her life as a single female. She chose romance as in inroad allocated to lady authors ,^she chose this story as it reflects her own family history  . THere really was a priest,who poached the wealth which shoulda belonged to the family, from a rich old lady.  Sexually Ignorant Maggie- was her mother. Dane was her brother. She wrote herself in _as the rebellious Justine. The Maori connection was also there:   Colleen is 1/4 Maori

@the heart of it all SHE WISHED TO EXPLORE THE CHARACTER OF A SACRIFICIAL WOMAN ( as she was nothing like that herself). 

The miniseries sported an epic fail of a miscast for the Priest. Nowhere near hot enough+ too old+ a softie. + acting range running the gamut from X to Z . . .Book Ralph was a haughty, *knows he’s hot to trot* type of meanie with a cold, ambitious drive, who GETS TO HAVE IT ALL IN THE END. > While the actor looks like he hugs Teddy bears in bed..  &Boy did they flub those nude, semi_nude scenes……….not least of all cause Richie Chamberlain shoulda been sent off for a 40 y.o.Virgin – style depilation!~Meggie expressly finds in the book – that she was revolted by Luke’s body hair &turned on by Ralph’s smoothness. Sporting the pellet of a dead ferret on his chest DOES NOT an EPIC HOTTIE make .~! & how does Meggie not cough  up hairballs |gross|

In the book he’s character inconsistent:
Wherein Ralph + Meggie proceed to boink each others’brains out for a week. in near total solitude
You’d think that the same guy, who was worldy enough to
A)contemplate the ins & outs of ways in which a priest could sex discreetly
B)educate Meggie about menARCHE
c)scheme, flirt `then drop his pants in front of the rich lady
d)not be dumb enough to get caught in the midst on hanky-panky, young
E)not put-out for the rich lady, keeping her nice&hungry

……be bright enough to work @not knocking his beloved, errr–groomed object of desire up…after she came this close to dying in childbirth a mere 4 months prior…@which event his Eminence was PRESENT + biting his nails. I mean, Meggie’s thick-as-a-rock spouse [who was ignorant of intercourse anguish not being limited to 1 time] had enough mental presence to use ‘French letters’ (1st time i heard that euphemism of a century)

girl in yellow dress covering her face with her hands
Photo by Anna Shvets on
But alas!
Afterwards, Ralph – the-newly-minted-deflowered-dumbass enters a massive stage of denial , lasting 2+decades, & is all like:
“what, what? the stork brought me a baby-boy}~? How could such a thing occur???”
& middle-aged Meggie’s like:
“well, remember that remember that bareback bumping +grinding In the loveshack on Matlock Island? ” ~`~~paraphrasing again, but it IS sorta written across Rachel Ward’s face….


The miniseries does have 1 of many major upsides over the book.
1) Maggie is SPUNKY. She’s forceful in her tirades. My fave is:
“Yeah, yeah, you love me. And God more than me. And yourself you love most of all, you stupid, *hard-t0 get* prick!!.
And speaking of pricks,/,why won;t you gimme yours!? you bloody vagina-tease, you”
^paraphrasing a little :-]}D
2)Casting, for the most part , is spot on . Barbara Stanwyck didn’t just kill that role/./.she buried it 6 under feet under, with a golden shovel
3)it looks & feels beautiful & filmic
4)Loooooove Justine,+ Ralph’s friend+boss
However, it does gloss over the aforementioned female-truth realities.
You see, those truth-bombs’re the reason for this post.
Coleen came across as an unlabelled-Radfem. She was crass, brash, relied on her brains to get herself places instead of her privates [as a woman ought to] , forewent pro-creating , didn’t marry until she was 42 & set for life . Knew the reality of being a large gal &mother-bullying stemming from that , alloting her station in life & death (they mentioned it IN HER EULOGY *facepalm* ) [i’m a believer in all obesity being inflammation due to contaminted food sources
Hilariously (&tragically) she kicked the lucky guy out on her deathbed! Cause he had a mistress!! LOl
She also wrote a scathing, honest, irrevent radfem-style of an which she revealed her mother tracking to get an illegal & badly botched abortion..which led to (likely) a hysterectomy or some such, limiting her offspring to 2, closely spaced babies, who were pro-totypes for Dane +Justine
Peppered all thru Thornbirds’re child & adult woman-daily-horrors. It’s a reel, starting from Fee not loving Meggie for being a girl (but not for the usual reason ). _It’s because she only sees her growing up to face the same bone-grinding oppression. Fee not hating bang-bang-squirting “Paddie was gentle”, but glad to avoid when he fell asleep _ to avoid yet more children ( she ends up having 9+several miscarriages).(for which she counts herself lucky!). If not for the 1st 2 years  during which Paddie considered himself lowly for her noble status – to place his paws on her – that no.”d rise
…to Frank being mad-as-Hell @stepdaddy for impregnating Mummy for a 7th baby
+ many others. like Fee’s chronic exhaustion -due to her 6 sons not lifting a finger at home, with only the 4 y.o. Meggie to rely on. this + her depression + eventually, alienation from Meggie ,goes away when she ascends back up in the world. At which point she gleefully ditches all housework & even feigning interest in the new, last of the brood, twins/.
All the while, Male prairie violence hangs over Fee+Meggie slaving away @home. {they either keep a rifle, or maybe 1 son around?or both}
Ralph finds it so very easy to tether Meggie from 10 y.o. to his sorry self  – as she’s desperately unloved by everyone but Frank, who leaves home early, + overworked. He convinces the family to raise her like a Lady >sending her to school & taking riding lessons. <MARY v. astutely terms this a form of hands-off pedophile grooming ( aka emotional molestation.
#maggie is a horny being, not limiting her fixation on Ralphie-boy to poems +flowers. She primarily wishes to TAP THAT THING real Bad:__) Once she does that >her hetherto relentless drive switches off for good. WHich aligns my theory on female hetero- – being nothing but a case of sniffing out the right Baby Daddy/ After she pregnates with Ralphie’s spawn – her reaction to the only session of humpy shennanigan they ever conduct, doesn’t travel beyond ‘women can go without for  a long time – but hey! nice when it happens’. *Luke manipulates her into marriage by dragging out the foreplay
∏all such nitty-gritty detailing grounds the saga & turns it into the same “melodrama becomes art” type of fiction – as  Young Philadelphians



2 thoughts on “the best BAD book ever written

  1. TV DeBricassar was mangled as a character to the point of lack of recognition

    Book version was a fairly well-realised, realistic character. In that:

    #he was on the Ace spectrum: had no urge to beat off, didn’t find celibacy a drag; found sexual people to have an affliction. he got off on BEING salivated over

    #his personality was consistent with high-aiming climbers. Warmth towards Meggie was an exception proving the rule. :
    He didn’t even rule out sleeping with Mary ,if only she were not so unattractive
    If another Opp for making it Big had presented itself: he’d burn the robe to cinders & run after the chariot

    #His life partner is Vittorio


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