Friday, April 8, 2011

B - Bet Me - Jennifer Crusie (432 pages)

I have not read a straight-up romance novel in 20 years or more. They were all pretty formulaic, bodice-ripping things with vapid heroines being saved and wooed by ridiculously non-real men. Great for a few hours of escape but nothing much more than that, nothing I could recall even hours after I had finished them. They were true "pulp fiction". Last week on Pop Culture Happy Hour (a wonderful podcast) Linda Holmes suggested that we (the audience) check out some smart romance novels and this book was one that she recommended. She was so enthusiastic - it was hard not to get caught up. I purchased it Saturday morning and finished it Sunday night. It was good!

Now, you might call this chick lit, but it isn't...the main character in this book was somehow smarter (Minerva is an actuary for goodness sake) and was less reliant on the love thing needing to happen. She was practical and hilarious and her group of friends were engaging. Her friends and their conversations reminded me of some of the raucous chats that my girlfriends and I share. And the guy (Calvin - aka Cal) was great as well. Not some impossibly perfect man that is meant to come in and save Min from the doldrums of her own existence. They become true friends before they jump into bed. The cat and mouse play was cute and satisfying. When they did get to bed - watch out!! Ms. Crusie knows how to write a sex scene!! 

If this is a genre that you have poo-poo'd in the past. Check this offering out. It was an immensely engaging read and I am still thinking about the characters now, five days after completing it. I try not to be a book snob - but romances fell into the "low-brow" category for me...Jennifer Crusie and Linda Holmes helped to change my mind. I will absolutely be reading more of Ms. Crusie's work.

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