Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Just reviewed Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ “Call Me Irresistible” for SBR

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Folks, here’s the link for tonight’s review at Shiny Book Review, first off:

http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/susan-elizabeth-phillips-screwball-comedy-call-me-irresistible-contrived-with-funny-moments/

Now that you’ve seen that, and have had a chance to read my review of CALL ME IRRESISTIBLE, let me elaborate a little more about Ms. Phillips’s newest effort.

First, this is Ms. Phillips’s twenty-first novel, and yet she couldn’t come up with a better “flaw” than the hero, Ted Beaudine, being a guy who makes love to his partner for several hours at a time?   No matter how well this was described or set up this isn’t enough of a “flaw” — how can someone being so caring of his partner be considered a flaw by anyone?

I don’t care that Ted’s intended, Meg Koranda, believed she wasn’t “special” enough because this apparently was Ted’s standard practice with his girlfriends (Ted’s a serial monogamist, so he only has one GF at a time).  Meg knows this is Ted’s policy — Ted is much too nice to point this out himself, of course, as that would be really crude —  because her best friend Lucy had been engaged to Ted and nearly married him and said so.  (Lucy jilted Ted at the altar.)  Lucy’s comments to Meg add up to this:  Ted’s every woman’s dream lover, and he’s world-class in the bedroom department because he takes his time and makes sure his partner appreciates the act before he finally gives in and takes his own.  But because Ted apparently treated every woman this way, even though he has every possible good quality there is, by the time Meg and Ted get down to business, Meg does not feel like Ted’s seeing her — and that’s just wrong.

But Meg goes too far in her beliefs, believing that Ted doesn’t really care unless he loses control now and again in the bedroom department.  This just doesn’t make any sense.  Most women do not wish for their intendeds to lose control in the bedroom, yet Meg does exactly this.  How is this believable?

Finally, the way Meg is treated throughout isn’t really believable, either.  Meg is broke, desperate, without employment and a car that’s barely running that’s also out of gas, and is stranded in Wynette, Texas, with a bunch of people who hate her because they believe that Meg somehow coerced Lucy into running off and jilting “favorite son” and town Mayor despite his young age of twenty-nine or so, Ted, at the altar.  So everyone goes out of the way to insult Meg, which is a very similar plot-line to AIN’T SHE SWEET? with much less justification for it, and very few of the townspeople give Meg a chance.

While this is a very funny novel in spots, and I enjoyed it because of the humor, I didn’t feel this was up to the best novels of Ms. Phillips, which along with AIN’T SHE SWEET? include DREAM A LITTLE DREAM and LADY BE GOOD.  And it’s because of the lack of a true flaw in the hero — or at least a true explicit flaw (as Ted believing Meg was at fault at first is definitely a flaw in a guy who supposedly is a world-class inventor with a genius IQ) — along with how poorly the heroine is treated that just did not sit well with me.  At all.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm

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