After getting a pay cut at her job, Agnes Petrella is struggling to make her rent and hesitantly resorts to selling her grandmother’s antique apple peeler. She posts to a social media website for members of the LGBTQ+ community and quickly receives many responses, among those being Zoe Cross.
After some email correspondence concerning the apple peeler, Cross learns that the apple peeler is the last thing Petrella has left from her family, who disowned her after she came out. Cross offers to pay Petrella’s rent and tells her that she can talk with her any time on Instant Messenger.
In “Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke,” Eric LaRocca portrays how the two women form an online relationship, which starts innocently and quickly develops into a toxic and controlling relationship that meets an uncomfortable ending.
Overall, this book was a major letdown, despite the compelling title. The book is marketed as “Horror Fiction” but has also frequently been described as “gory”. However, while reading it, it was barely gory, or even scary, it was just uncomfortable.
The entire book is written as a series of text messages and emails between Agnes and Zoe. However, the wording is incredibly formal and unrealistic. While the writing is beautiful, it does not sound like something that would be sent in a text message.
Additionally, the book has almost no characterization or character development. It is often confusing to differentiate who is who, because neither character has a distinct personality.
The fact that the book is so short, but has so many things happening confuses the reader. It develops so quickly that it often feels like you missed something, and it can get overwhelming.
The worst aspect of this book by far is the misrepresentation of a relationship between two women. The author is not a woman, and therefore has never been in a lesbian relationship, and it shows. The authors misperception is incredibly prominent and his portrayal almost fetishizes lesbian relationships at times.
“Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke,” is definitely not a book that I would recommend; there were so many aspects that were confusing and poorly done. However, the writing is actually good at times, so I think it is worth checking out other books by Eric LaRocca.