Dirty Darlings Grown-Old, Not Grown-Up

Catherine Chagra

As usual I downloaded a book I received for free and it was so badly written, it literally took me almost a month to read 215 pages.

It’s riddled with ethnic stereotyping of Lebanese men as reckless womanizers and Lebanese women as subservient slaves to their men.

Written by Catherine Chagra, one of three daughters of Jamiel “Jimmy” Chagra, using ink heavy with self-pity.

I reviewed the book on Goodreads this way:
“Narcissistic and self-absorbed view of life as the daughter of a drug-dealing-high-roller. It’s whiny. I finished reading it only to see if the attitude of the author changed along the way and it sounded like she was a bit humbled near the end.”

This review caught the attention and ire of the author who responded thanking me for reading her book, and added “talk to me when you have the guts to tell the world your mistakes” which she says she would commend me for.

Rather than go through the volley back and forth, I’m adding a screen capture of the exchange but wonder how crazy she would have been had I written what I actually wanted as a knee-jerk to one of her rants against her sister Christa.

She wrote (chapter 20) “In case she hadn’t noticed, that at the age of forty-two, I didn’t have any money. I didn’t own anything and even my Chevy Malibu was in Roy’s name. I had almost lost my most precious possession. I had just gone through an excruciating divorce. I think I’m humbled now, Christa. Hello?”

My reaction?
No Cathy, you are broke and have nothing but you are not “humbled”. Only a self-centred, self-absorbed narcissist would ignore other people’s feelings and expect all attention be placed on them.

That’s not what I wrote, though.

Finally, I want to talk about a Star Trek episode when the crew from the SS Enterprise with Captain Kirk, visit a planet where there are only children and no adults. The children talked about “grups” and later in the episode we discover it is what they call the adults (grown-ups). With no-one teaching them proper language or correcting them, their understanding was remedial at best and words were phonetically mispronounced and passed along.

Which brings me back to Dirty Darlings and the Lebanese language they thought they were learning. At the very least, Ms. Chagra should have researched the real words before she wrote and presented them repeatedly as fact. Maybe she could have said something like, “we called it ‘this’ even though the correct word is ‘these'”. Something to indicate, as an adult she realized the words were wrong but indicate that it is what it is and that’s how things were. But no!

Early in the book the author talks about the hissy-fits she would have until she got her way. Typical of many kids and not really a big deal, however, this book was written in 2015 and reviewed briefly by myself in 2020 and in all that time, she doesn’t seem to have taken care of her anger issues and had a hissy-fit because she didn’t like what I said.

Nothing personal lady! And I use the term loosely.
Your book sucked a lemon. Your family was dysfunctional, and you need help to get over these things.

In response to, “it’s my goal to start counselling and helping some of those young ones. I want to make a difference in their lives. I want to help them find their self-worth. I’d like to help them learn that they have nothing to do with their parent’s actions.” (page 206). This is an honourable endeavour and I wish her luck with it, but not until she gets her head screwed on right, first.

Review and Responses on Goodreads

About Nancy Tessier 81 Articles
Move Over Mid-Life Barbie Nancy T is here Married. Mom and mémé. Green-eyed blonde or brunette (depending on my mood). Sweet, sensitive, smart & self-employed. Owner of Windsor Business Networks, Bridal Basics, Mashup Kaffe Designer, Writer, Creative Director, and Master Collaborator