For this month’s TBR Challenge, which I managed to remember, I selected a book randomly. This one caught my eye mostly because of the cover, which made me think of BitterSweets.
Title: Romantically Challenged (excerpt here)
Author: Beth Orsoff, an author who is new to me
Genre: chick lit
(c) 2006, published by New American Library
Length of time in the TBR pile: Unknown. I’m not entirely certain how this book made its way into my house. It’s a discarded library book, so I must’ve bought it at a booksale at some point. *shrug*
Summary: Julie is a 32 year old entertainment lawyer living in LA. Last year she caught her boyfriend cheating, and she’s been single ever since. After yet another wedding in which her extended family laments her single state, Julie decides it’s time to make a concerted effort to find The One. Office set ups, friends of friends, speed dating, even a dating service, no means is overlooked.
What did I think of the book? Well…its prose wasn’t bad. And it was prettily packaged. But there was absolutely nothing new or original in this book. Even accounting for the age of the book, the setting, characters, and plot felt pedestrian and uninspired.
I’m trying to remember when internet dating first showed up. Surely it was before 2006? It was going on in an informal format as far back as 1995 in my observation, so Julie’s experience (or lack thereof) seemed odd.
Julie started as a cliche and never rose above it. How many boxes could I check? Educated, professional, too “choosy”, nagging mother, quiet father, office BFF with a problematic relationship to use as a warning, etc. And her dates: money conscious, too preppy, grooming issues, too WASPy, gay and closeted, etc. Every single issue was telegraphed or handled with all the tact of a sledgehammer. Yes, yes, Chekhov’s gun, but there’s a balance between foreshadowing and being utterly predictable.
Would I recommend it to other readers? Not unless they were looking to read very stereotypical chick lit (which almost no one is now that its heyday has passed).