I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Café du Monde Publishing
Denver, CO
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 9781439244395, $18.95, 390 pp.

Cheap Cabernet is a memoir about two bipolar women, Cathie and Denise, who considered themselves superior to everyone else. To some degree they both had a 'poor-me' complex—Denise because she had MS and Cathie for her life in general. They were either being outrageous–partying, lying, cheating, manipulating–or depressed.

I did not enjoy this memoir and about halfway through thought about not finishing the book, which is rare, and not doing a review. I had come to dislike these two self-centered women, as portrayed. I had grown to dislike them for their arrogance, superior and condescending attitudes towards other people, for their lack of compassion and consideration and for their lack of integrity.

The stealing of Denise’s husband’s money–a man they both liked and loved? and Denise’s sexual activities while John was hospitalized clearly demonstrated the essence of Denise’s character. As for Cathie, the essence of her character was made clear on page 6:

“I knew that I, and subsequently my children, were far superior to the other women and kids sitting on the orange plastic chairs.... I knew I was better than everyone else in that office because I was the smart girl, the clevah one. The one who read literature and studied film and knew to blend my foundation carefully around my chin, to check my teeth regularly for lipstick, and to go underwear-less under pantyhose to avoid panty lines.

“I was classy.”

And to the end, this was Cathie’s attitude. In truth, she was not there for her friend or Denise’s funeral. Possibly this memoir is about helping Cathie purge her guilt...and make some money.

I don’t agree with the promotional hype on the front or back cover: “Beyond wonderful–wickedly funny, poignant, and smart...utterly seductive, a page-turner, impossible to put down. Not since ‘Thelma & Louise’ have women and friendship been so beautifully and powerfully painted. This hilarious, heartbreaking memoir is a joyful and exhilarating ride for the reader.”

I guess some people find making fun of other people in a condescending manner hilarious. I don’t. Remember, this is not a novel, it’s a true memoir.

For the most part, the book is well edited. As for Cathie Beck’s writing style, she has a certain flair which leans toward raunchy with a tinge of aren’t-I-clevah. Who would have guessed?

Kaye Trout - August 22, 2009