Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Getting Rid of Matthew

When I pick up a novel for a dollar on the clearance rack of Half Price Books, I don't expect much.  Usually I also don't get much, Candace Bushnell, ahem, so this one was a pleasant surprise.

Along with any of my readers who've read extensive chick lit, I've seen my share of novels about women involved with married or otherwise unavailable men, and there are few surprises to be had at any turn.  This one amused me right up front: the book starts with the heroine's married older lover actually leaving his wife for her.  He shows up on the doorstep, suitcase in hand - just after the heroine, having spent a few really pleasant days alone without any visits or calls from him, realizes that she doesn't actually like him that much after all.  So now she has this annoying old guy in her apartment.  Bummer.  And hence, the title of the book.

While that plot twist in and of itself wouldn't have been enough to make me a fan, the protagonist's inner monologue converted me.  I hate it, I really, really hate it, when reviewers maunder on about an author's "unique voice," which is usually their go-to praise when the author in question can't put together a grammatical sentence.  "Unique voice," much like "evocative prose," is often also code for overuse of metaphors that look like they recently went through the Kitchen Aid.  That said, sometimes an author really does have a striking voice, and Jane Fallon's was consistently angry and violent and often at odds with the light subject matter.  The heroine's a bit of a foul-mouthed bitch, to be completely clear; she's often unsympathetic, which made me feel a bit more at home with the novel as a whole.

This book's a solid three and a half stars on the chick lit scale; I therefore recommend it seven-tenths-heartedly to anyone who reads the genre.

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