The dust jacket of The Girl with the Botticelli Face (W. D. Valgardson, Douglas & McIntyre) promises an "explicit rendering of sexual politics," a dissection of "the nature of male rage" and even "one of the most hilarious scenes in CanLit." This reviewer never got that far, but stopped after fifty-seven pages that felt like thousands. Male and female characters alike fall flat, knocked down by plain bad writing—a reliance on pathetic clichés and a smarmy humour that left me in need of a shower (hot). The bruised victim of husband-abuse, the (female) high school guidance teacher whose teaching aids include an inflatable rubber penis—"hilarious"? No. There is not a breath of fresh insight here, nor any love of language, nor any wish to grapple passionately with gender politics or any other new ideas. The narrator is a whining dinosaur who has missed every possible learnable moment. Let's call this one a must-avoid.