Monday, August 28, 2006

Book Review: Trouble In High Heels

I feel really bad about the review I'm about to do, but to be honest, I am once again disappointed by a Christina Dodd book. The reason is feel bad is that I think she's probably a very nice, very funny woman. I enjoy reading the blog she shares with other romance writers at But I've yet to come across a book of hers that I've liked. A rationale question would be why do I keep buying them?

First off, her website improperly advertises this book as "cool suspense." Um, there was nothing suspenseful in this book. Kim's posting of the Jennifer Weiner quote was remarkably timely, because I think this book would aptly be categorized as "chick lit." I think of "chick lit" as books about young professional women that can't seem to get their romantic lives straightened out. And, they invariably end up involved in some ridiculous set of events that would never happen in real life. And they are totally clueless. That's my definition of "chick lit." That is not my definition of "cool suspense."

I'm a little peeved, too, by the cover of this book. They're trying to trick us by not letting on that it's chick lit. Chick lit is supposed to have covers like this:

See the jaunty cartoon characters? That's how you know what you're getting into.

Romantic suspense (when done right) is supposed to have covers like this:

I'm sorry if authors don't like the term "chick lit." But when they insult us by creating characters that are supposed to be smart but end up doing absolutely ridiculously stupid things, it's deserved.

Case in point - the heroine in this book was really sensitive to being called stupid because her absentee father used to call her stupid. So she went to law school and graduated top of her class and all that. But yet she still ended up engaged to a total loser who had a girlfriend on the side and impregnated and married the girlfriend before he broke off his engagement to the heroine. If she's so smart why didn't see that coming? And if she's so smart why did she put up with all the red-flags and jerkish behavior that he supposedly exhibited the whole time they were together? And if she's so smart why did she think she could break up a jewel robbery all on her own? And if she's so smart why did she talk to her boss of one day like she was the Queen of Sheba and he was her lowly servant?

I'm sick and tired of romance novelists thinking that readers are gullible enough to believe that their characters are smart just because they tell us they are, when everything the characters do points to the opposite conclusion. You can't just wipe away a book full of behavior with one sentence, okay? So don't try it.

Oh, and Roberto? Yeah, not a sexy name, even if he is an Italian Count. Remember Adam Sandler's dad in "The Waterboy"? His name was Roberto.

Lindsey's Grade: C

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