My Favourite Book
I thought it might be nice to start blogging about other books I’ve read. They say if you want to write it’s essential to read a lot. And they’re right (whoever ‘they’ are). Partly because it’s good to see what other people are writing about, current themes, etc. but also because it helps keep you up-to-date with the market, so to speak. But also, because it’s helpful to analyse other people’s writing. What did I like about it? What didn’t I like? Did I see the plot twist coming? Was I glued to the page? These are all questions I constantly ask myself when writing. So it’s great to see how others do it. But it’s not all about the writing. First and foremost, I’m a reader. In fact, reading was what inspired me to start writing in the first place. So it seems only fitting that I start off by reviewing my favourite book of all time, Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie.
So what’s it about?
Minerva ‘Min’ Dobbs is a slightly cynical, witty and suspicious thirty-something who has found herself dumped by a man who she barely liked, let alone loved. Trouble is Min has an impending wedding to attend as her sister’s bridesmaid, throw in the need for a date, two hilariously entertaining best friends, an overbearing mother and a dress that doesn’t fit and Min finds herself looking for a replacement man to fill the dateless gap.
Calvin ‘Cal’ Morrisey is ridiculously handsome and successful, and isn’t looking for a long-term commitment, especially with the girl who fails to fall for his boyishly good charms. The two meet through a dubious bet and fall straight into drama, chaos and the possibility of love. The big question is? Can opposites really attract?
When they say good-bye at the end of their ‘date’, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again. But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal are dealing with meddling friends, a jealous ex-boyfriend, a determined psychologist, a frantic bride, a mutant cat, snow globes, two Mothers-from-Hell, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of, including the biggest gamble of all – unconditional love.
Logical Min thinks love is a fairy tale. Rational Cal thinks forever’s a myth. Implacable Fate thinks they’re meant for each other.
I’ll start by saying that I’ve read this book numerous times. Yep, it’s that good. Do you have a book like that? One you never tire of reading? That you enjoy even though you know what’s coming next? Well, for me, that book is Bet Me. Of course, I’ve also read Jenny’s other books numerous times (Faking Itis my second favourite book) so I’m something of a fan. But here’s why I love this book. . .
And it’s romantic.
Is that all, I hear you cry? Let me tell you, as a rom-com writer it’s flipping hard to achieve that perfect mix of humour and love. Romance isn’t for the faint-hearted. Humour is subjective. And so is romance. What one person thinks is charming and chivalrous, another person finds offensive and patronising. The male hero needs to be strong, but not chauvinistic, sensitive but not a blubbering wreck, and totally hot. The endings need to be emotionally satisfying without being predictable. And the female protagonist needs to be likeable, vulnerable but without being weak, and save herself – even though she’d still like a fella along for the ride. See what I mean? It’s a minefield.
Jennifer Crusie is an expert at all these things. Her characters are three-dimensional, witty, quirky and independent. The men are dead sexy, yet flawed. The women are people you’d want to be friends with, and her supporting characters are genius. Throw in a brilliant, funny, and original storyline, and bingo, you have the perfect rom-com. It’s also spectacularly well written, witty and full of humour. It’s also quite random, which I love. There’s a cat called Elvis. I rest my case. Min is sassy and vulnerable, with a quirky, goofy sense of humour. And Cal is a sweet and sexy man, who I’d happily let feed me donuts. The dialogue between the characters is fast paced and entertaining. There’s nothing I don’t love about this story. But don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself. Go on, I bet you. (See what I did there?)