Review of "The Demon's that Tempt Me," by Nina Yelena Simone
I'm posting this here, because I anticipate sharing this with a few different people--
The Demon's That Tempt Me: Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
TDTTM is a self-published novel released as paperback and Kindle editions via Amazon.com. It came to my attention as a novel about Alexander Skarsgard, and for that reason, I had to check it out. What I'm going to do here is give a general review of the book, sum up the story (assuming most won't want to read the book and are more interested in the AS angle) and try to get at the question of whether is autobiographical or real-person fanfic.
1.) From a reviewer's perspective, I must say the book has serious deficiencies. The use of English here is poor--"brake" for "break," at least one case of "u" for "you" (not in a text message, but in spoken conversation), and as you see in the title, an issue grasping the difference between the possessive and the plural. The book is riddled with these errors, to the point where I wondered if the author was writing the book with English as her second language.
That is unfortunate, because the book itself does have a somewhat intriguing plot and yields more thought than many fanfics. I have to give the author credit for writing something that bucked easy answers and made many risky decisions. In particular, the heroine, Lourdes, is often extremely unsympathetic, and yet I was still interested in her story. The Alexander Skarsgard character (for there is no doubt at all this is meant to be AS) makes choices that wound rile a fangirl, and yet you, the reader, find yourself nodding in understanding, not rage at the author for daring to defile AS's character.
Bottom line: It isn't a great or even a good book (in my estimation), and I was annoyed by the lack of proofreading, but I did find it interesting.
2.) Story and Alexander Skarsgard:
The plot (SPOILERS AHOY!) goes like this: Lourdes is a chef who likes to party. She's close friends with Albear (yes, spelled that way), a gay man with a penchant for intrigue and hedonism. Albear and his cohort have been egging Lourdes on in living a life of hedonism--fun hook-ups, no commitments. Lourdes has no problem with this, because 1.) she has a steady, but open relationship with a British writer, Gabriel, who is often not in town; 2.) she likes to party, and by party I mean drugs and alcohol.
So Lourdes likes to party. During the time her boyfriend, Gabriel, is away, she has grown close to his best friend, "Alexsander." Alex is, without a doubt, Alexander Skarsgard. He:
--is a tall, blond Swede who towers over everyone.
--is often seen in LA with a British-accented black man (here named Isaac)
--has approximately 5 brothers and a sister
--is an actor
--is on a TV show about vampires, on which he plays a vampire
--is referred to as a "viking" and a "Sheriff"
--is referred to as "Mr. Northman" playfully by one character
--is not given a last name otherwise in the text, that I recall.
--has a penchant for raising his eyebrow
--signs a note with his initials, which are "AJ."
--wears a wardrobe in line with AS' limited attire
--has been seen with "Hollywood sticks" on his arm
--and so on. The only issue I had was that he occasionally slips into British word choices (a "mate," for example, for a friend). And, yes, for the record, he's smokin', even in literary form!
Now for the details: Alex and Lourdes have an affair that lasts throughout the book, but involves many a stormy break-up and missed connections. The Alex character consistently wants Lourdes to give up her boyfriend, and then all other men, to be with him; Lourdes, meanwhile, doesn't trust him and continues to party with her mysterious crowd, which includes a soldier and a prostitute. These characters are there for a reason. Throughout the book, Lourdes is fighting the depths of her affair by having flings with any human around her. She hooks up with another guy, a girl, and almost hooks up with her boyfriend (who becomes her ex in the course of the book). I am probably missing yet another man on the list--that's how busy Lourdes has been.
If this were a fanfic, the story would revolve solely around AS/Lourdes, but in reality the story focuses on Lourdes' fumbling efforts to emerge from her drugged haze and realize a life of lies isn't for her (that is, to commit to being open--and monogamous--with the Alex character). Lest you think the AS character is a saint in this, he has his own dirty laundry (cheating and there's mention of him using a joint, but not the massive drug use Lourdes consumes in the course of the book).
3.) Is this autobiographical?
I first heard about this book and thought I'd been informed it was autobiographical. To be honest, after reading it, I am not sure about that. All of the time references are decidedly contemporary. (The Alex character mentions they're filming either season 2 or 3 of his vampire show, for example; he and Lourdes make a joke out of a line from "Bad Romance"; there are references to hip-hop artists like Drake and TI.) Plus, if it was autobiographical, frankly, the author would have to be a.) filmed with self-loathing, because the Lourdes character is not a pleasant one and b.) out to get Alexander Skarsgard, because there is every attempt to get the reader to identify Alex with AS. (There was, in fact, a scene with a gonorrhea scare which, when I read it, thought smacked of lawsuit material. No, the AS character in the book is not afflicted, but he's slept with someone who was at risk.) My own judgment is that it's a fictional story about trying to give up a party/player lifestyle for something real, and the author inserted her own vision of AS into this.
4.) Last but not least
For those who are easily offended, I warn you that the language here is very adult in nature.