The White Mary

by Kira Salak | 368 pages, published 2008

I always took the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to mean “Sometimes things look really stupid, but they are actually great inside.” I never imagined – until now – that it might also mean “Sometimes things look really great, but they are actually stupid inside.” (At least I don’t remember having imagined this before.)

Probably part of the trouble was that I just finished reading The Testament, and I wasn’t quite ready for another white-person-searching-for-a-different-white-person-hidden-in-the-tropics book. Also, the main character (Marika) was utterly unlikable. She and all the others characters were so exaggerated in their personalities that none were believable. An example (assuming you are never going to read this book and it won’t be a spoiler): Marika has a big fight, the first one, with her boyfriend. She storms off, decides things are over between them, hooks up with her go-to friend with benefits, then regrets it and goes back to her shared apartment; she and the boyfriend (Seb) break up and she heads to Papua New Guinea. When she calls him on a satellite phone at the end of the book because her passport and money have been stolen and she needs help getting out of the country, they have a heartfelt, tear-filled conversation in which Seb apologizes for not being more understanding and for not listening to her. Seriously. Even for literature, that’s unrealistic.

Anyway, the book also had descriptive sex scenes. Just preparing for a movie adaptation, I guess. I suggest not wasting your time on The White Mary, even if the cover looks amazing. Not worth it.

Buy The White Mary on Amazon, ignoring my recommendation