The Man in the Dark – Chapters 1 and 2 Could This Be Any Sillier?

The Man in the Dark – Chapters 1 and 2 Could This Be Any Sillier? February 17, 2019
My bedroom nightstand, my view as I read this book. I need a bottle of tequila on the nightstand.

It has arrived! My copy of Doug Wilson of Blog and Mablog’s misguided attempt to enter the romance novel market. Currently I am reading “The Man in the Dark” by Wilson, and it’s kind of a laugh riot. But not in a way that I think the author would approve.

First, let me state I am not a fan of romance novels. I’ve read them in the past when it was the only book I could obtain. Like the time I was sick at my high school boyfriend’s grandmother’s house and all she had was a pile of old Harlequin Romance novels written by Dame Barbara Cartland. It helped pass a few boring days.

I am a voracious reader, but not of this genre. Usually I read a mix from the serious to the silly. Recent books included Chris Christie’s “Let Me Finish,” “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. See what I mean? I enjoyed all three. I am simply too prosaic to like romance novels. When you’re asthmatic you end up laying down and reading a great deal.

This? I’m four chapters in and it seems like a vanity project for Wilson. I’m not going to waste more than a small amount of print on chapter one because you can read it for yourselves for free online.

Too bad it’s not this “The Man in the Dark” or this one.

Chapter 1 – Samantha Westmoreland

Chapter one – Doug’s Mary Sue character is named Samantha Westmoreland, a romance novel name if there ever was one. I guess I should be happy it’s not Sadie Mae Gluckmann or something worse. This chapter is filled with Samantha swanning about, judging others in her orbit and exhibiting that Mary Sue like perfection that everyone around her either wants to have lovely horizontal fellowship with or is insanely jealous of.

We’re introduced to the two love interests, the wealthy and foul mouthed banker  Alan Lambeth, and the laughably named new pastor Thomas Goforth. Goforth?!?! Are you kidding me?

Wilson spends a copious amount of time in the first chapter establishing the location as Paradise, Idaho, going on and on and on about the glories of the area without once giving a time frame. Seeing the prissy pearl clutching of his female lead and mentions of automobiles just starting to be a thing I have to believe this is pre-Prohibition, like the late 1910s perhaps.

Chapter 2 – The Potato Salad Incident

All the players are established in chapter one. Then we move on to chapter two, ‘The Potato Salad Incident’ which is literally the best description of the only worthwhile action in the entire chapter. Samantha beans Mr. Lambeth in the head with a bowl of potato salad in front of Pastor Goforth (that name!). At a church picnic before snapping rudely at the pastor. Why? For Lambeth being rude enough to constantly push his grandmother’s potato salad on Samantha after she’s explained that potato salad gives her a rash near her elbow on her forearms. Hostile potato salad offering rewarded rudely. Only Wilson could turn an act of altruism into a declaration of war.

Has to be one of the dumbest descriptions of a food allergy I’ve ever heard of. But considering Doug has stated many times on his blog that he thinks food allergies aren’t real, gluten free is ridiculous and other inanities I am not surprised at all. Clearly no one in his circle has food allergies.  That presentation is just bizarre and not very realistic.

I have pretty severe food allergies and sometimes I do attend church picnics, like Doug describes in the book. I am feisty but I can honestly state I have never tossed potato salad at anyone or chewed the pastor out when someone tries to push food I am allergic to. I do like everyone else allergic does. You bring what you know you can eat and share it with anyone who wants it. You do not behave like a toddler that needs a nap!

Pastor Goforth and Mr. Alan Lambeth circle each other like horny dogs around the only female in heat, making everything uncomfortable for many.

Samantha dutifully trots off to the pastor’s home the next day to explain her potato salad throwing ways, her relationship with the naughty word spewing Lambeth and Lambeth talking smack about the sermonizing mad skillz of the pastor.

The chapter ends with the pastor confessing his burgeoning feelings for Samantha to a friend. Yawn.


I know Doug never meant for his book to be an indictment of all that is wrong with the church, but it is. We have gossip, we have lust. We have feeling smug and superior to everyone else. We have judgmentalism. We have tattling to the pastor about the actions and words of others. We have potato salad. Just kidding, potato salad is awesome!

I am likely not going to quote much from this book because the writing is actually rather flat and boring. Not at all Doug Wilson’s usual over the top word salad. It’s sedate and a mere 250 pages.

Doug’s writing of his main character Samantha Westmoreland makes it seems as if Doug has no real knowledge of the inner workings of women. She’s one dimensional, not much different than Verhoeven’s Nomi in “Showgirls”, one of the worst films ever.

Next week chapters 3 and likely 4. Our heroine is fully armed to keep off the random drunken rapists in the town so swayed  by her wonderfulness they try to bother her.

At some point I am going to be doing a live reading and tequila drinking during the squishy parts like I did for Vaughn Ohlman’s tome ‘What are you Doing?’ First I must prepare my liver and my computer. Date to be announced. Likely will be a YouTube upload instead of a Facebook Live.

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 32 years. You can read more about the author here.

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