Everyone needs love. But one of the largest publishers in the world - Simon & Schuster - is hoping readers will want "love" of the Texarkana variety with the digital-only romance novel titled Texarkana Love.
The book is 1273 pages long. Yes, you read that right: This book is a few pages more lengthy than the famously long classic novel, War and Peace. Almost unbelievably, that means there are one thousand two hundred and seventy-three pages of Texarkana Love.
The publisher describes the romance novel as a collection of "6 Contemporary Romances," and the book is publicized with a blurb that anyone familiar with Texarkana might find hilarious. Here's the description from the publisher of Texarkana Love: "There's no straddling the line when it comes to falling in love with these cowboys and cowgirls—but in these battles, it doesn’t matter if you're Team Arkansas or Team Texas. Everybody wins!"
Let's break down the book blurb. The first section of the first line of the blurb is: "There's no straddling the line when it comes to falling in love." Does this mean that we are going to read a book of 1200+ pages about us loitering in the middle of State Line Avenue looking for love?
It's true, many couples have found love on a first date at Cattleman's Steak House, and many people do have an almost unhealthy addiction-level love for Potato Patch. But the closest to love most of us get when we're "straddling the line" is when they buy Tyler roses from those people who set up shop on the corners of State Line Avenue during peak rose periods
The second part of the first line of the book's blurb is more complicated. That's because it states everyone is: "falling in love with these cowboys and cowgirls." This massively long romance novel is assuming that only "cowboys and cowgirls" are "straddling the line" while looking for love. But this is just an idealized view of what people from afar would expect of a place called Texarkana.
While there are certainly some cowboys and cowgirls around State Line Avenue, they are probably not in the majority. But this book would have you believe that there are men and women in cowboy hats and full western regalia trying to meet each other when they stop to water their horses.
The second part of the book's blurb is even more problematic: "In these battles, it doesn’t matter if you're Team Arkansas or Team Texas. Everybody wins!" First of all, this is just plain wrong. It DOES matter if you are Team Arkansas or Team Texas in Texarkana, USA. We all know this, and a Washington Post fact-checker would award this blurb Four Pinocchios if given a chance.
Because of this completely false statement, it is easy to see that this book blurb was probably written by a Simon & Schuster editor who may have only watched Smokey and the Bandit or maybe jammed to the REM song Texarkana. But they know nothing else about the Twin Cities.
And the "Everyone wins!" statement isn't right either. Everyone doesn't win. That's why we have the classic high school "Arkansas vs. Texas" football game every year, and there's only one winner in that annual rivalry.
It must be said that the book itself doesn't seem to have much at all to do with Texarkana. It appears to be a collection of Texas and Arkansas western romance stories that have been marketed by using the fair city of Texarkana as a convenient hook.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of people who have purchased digital copies of Texarkana Love actually like it. And it might even worth buying according to 42 readers who have written reviews: 62% of them have given it a full five-star rating. Who would have expected that?
Upon more reflection, the first part of the Texarkana Love blurb may very well have something to it: In the past, we all know Texarkana teens who have escaped from their homes on weekend nights to "cruise Stateline." Of the thousands of teenagers who have at some time cruised Stateline, there are certainly some who have found "love" there. Even though it's mostly brief, high school love, it's still love.
So there could be something to this Texarkana Love thing. It would be nice to find out, but it would take a week or more to get through the 1273 pages - and that's reading 180 pages a day. But the price is definitely right.
One might expect a digital book of this size from a major publisher to cost $10 or maybe 12 dollars. But no: It is available right now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the bargain price of just 99 cents. No joke. Click here to buy it from Amazon.
"Texarkana Love: 6 Contemporary Romances" was published by Simon & Schuster in December 2015 by Kathryn Brocato. It is available from all major digital publishing distributors.