Through the first 150 pages I loathed this book. As I finished it the loathing had fizzled out to boredom and just being happy that I was done. I've been trying to figure out what I didn't like about it. I commented earlier in one of Kris' posts that I was not convinced of the "love" in this equation. Showing up to the person that you love when she is six and you are an adult and telling her she marries you before she even gets all the way through adolescence does not equal love to me. It would have been more like love if they would have ended up together somtime without her being preprogrammed to want him (and possibly even having other experiences with love).
Figuring out love and sex is a very awkward thing. I think there are many women who fantasized about the older guy. Our dream man who would be like a father figure only hotter. The guy who would take us through our first sexual encounter like a pro - coaxing mind blowing orgasms and moving us beyond any awkwardness. (A guy who medaled in cunnilingus - albeit one who we bestowed this honor on and who didn't bestow it on himself). This story reads to me like every other heterosexist fairy tale (or romance novel) where the girl pines for her hero and he comes and saves her. Henry didn't seem the least bit attractive to me - I'm not talking physical beauty, but any appealing qualities. We do learn that he has a rather large penis, which is a staple of romance novels to this day.
I guess I had hoped that we had moved beyond this fairy tale plot as far as books that are published and become bestsellers. To me, Clare is the epitome of the passive female. Her whole being revolves around Henry. She has no personal identity without him. I guess that this may be romantic to some, but it is a bit troubling to me because that is the way women have been regarded from time immemorial. I feel that the author attempted to break the stereotype of woman that Clare represented by including the fact that she could not cook. When it boils down to it, I guess that I could have simply disliked the author's writing style, so I was set up to dislike the book from the beginning.