Good Christian Bitches (Kim Gatlin)

Good Christian Bitches is a novel by Kim Gatlin.
Finished on: 4.6.2015

Plot:
Amanda Vaughn left Dallas and the confining high society she grew up in years ago with her high school sweetheart, husband and father of her two children. But now she’s decided that she has had enough of his infidelity and she moves back to Dallas, freshly divorced, instantly providing the best gossip the local church community could have ever hoped for. As Amanda navigates a world of passive-aggressive offers, double standards and generally Christian hypocrisy, the organisation of the Longhorn Ball is thrown her way. Thinking that work would do her some good, Amanda accepts – only to realize afterwards how bad the state of affairs really is. But the Dallas high society doesn’t know how much of a fighter Amanda is.

Years ago there was the beautiful TV show GCB that only ever got one season (like so many shows I love). I started watching the show, then excitedly realized that it was based on a book. I ordered it and now I finally even read it. I shouldn’t have bothered.

gatlin_goodchristianbitches

What I loved about GCB was that it was a show about complex, diverse women with very different and sometimes very difficult relationships with each other. They don’t always work towards the same goal, they don’t always agress and more often than not, there is a lot of animosity between them. But you get every single one of them, they are all relatable and they all come with their set of problems, strengths and weaknesses. [Of course, the show isn’t perfect. But it’s much closer than the book.]

So that’s what I expected from the book as well. In fact, in my experience books tend to be even more nuanced than TV shows, so if anything I expected more of that. But what I got instead was a blanket judgement of everyone who wasn’t Amanda. Since Amanda was presented as flawless, it is obvious that nobody else could live up to her. But flawlessness is not a realistic character trait and most of all, it’s an annoying habit for a fictional character. Particularly when it isn’t even true: Amanda likes to gossip as much as the other women in the church group she damns so completely for it. Amanda is extremely judgemental. And she was an absolute snob.

But poor, innocent Amanda ist just cruelly beset by all those women! And they need to learn their lesson, she won’t be treated this way! In the end the book is all about hypocritical women outrighteousing each other and I wanted to strangle every single one of them.

It also really didn’t sit well with me that the head bitches in the book were the only people in the entire book who actually didn’t have oil money and estates, but were rather poor and had to work for a living – something that is apparently a huge flaw, as it means that they can’t be dressed as fashion demands it. And instead of staying in their proper place, they are desperately hunting for rich husbands, despite being old, like at least 30, and even a little chubby. So of course, they are petty, vengeful, jealous and envious beasts who make Amanda’s life hell.

The only thing I liked about the book (apart from the fact that it was a quick read and therefore over quickly) was the relationship Amanda had with her mother. It developed nicely (if not exactly subtly) and it was pretty positive. So yay for that.

Other than that, though, I missed everything I loved about the show. Obviously somebody with a little more love for women re-worked that book quite exhaustively for that. I wish somebody had done the same for the book before it was published.

Summarizing: So disappointing that I had to go ahead and watch the series again, even though it meant having my heart broken about the lack of a second season for a second time.

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