by Terry Campbell, contemporary (1999)
Five Star, $24.95, ISBN 0-7862-2154-2
Both Mr Wrong and Fat Chance feature some of the most annoying antics of so-called adults in love, and the things they do mirror some of the worst "relationship advices" I've read in women's pop magazines.
In Mr Wrong, Kat Snow has the misfortune to be a caricature of a modern woman - dumped, betrayed, and used by a very nasty ex-hubby. Does our heroine kick up the volume as she sings in defiance to a karaoke version of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive? Nah, that's so 60's. The new millennium ideal is our Modern Heroine wringing her hands in painful angst - "I need a man! I want a man! I need a man NOW!" So she decides to compose a list of Mr Right behavior instead of visiting an adult toy store.
Her boss Rourke Hawthorne reads the list and decides, hey, he sorta likes Kat, and he meets all of her requirements. Wanna date, Kat? "No! I love you! I trust you! I hate you! I mistrust you!" And so they go. Round and in round they go in their petty antics. It's like reading about thirteen-year olds that have deluded themselves to think they are In Love. I half expect them to run home to Momma and scream things like, "Mom, I sooooo love him but he never, like, tell me I look pretty, so I hate him! (Can I have some money to buy the new N Sync CD?)"
Fat Chance is a take on overweight heroines. Of course, Raye Franklin is only slightly overweight, but boy, does she has a case of low self-esteem. Overweight ladies, start saving for liposuction, since now you'll never have a freakin' chance. Also, Fat Chance is a touted "1930s screwball comedy". In the land of hackneyed writing, this means:
(a) There is a crazy matchmaking elderly citizen involved, maybe two,
(b) Heroine with a chronic case of cluelessness,
(c) Big misunderstandings galore, refer to (a) to solve matters up.
Guess what? FC has all three.
Raye, fed up with fake diets, decide to embark on a latest fad, just to prove it wrong. Macon Winston knows his diet program is scientific and perfect, however, and why, sure, he will meet Raye's challenge heads-on. Lots of petulant stampings, pouting, "You think I'm fat! You don't love me because I'm fat!" (bear in mind she is only a leee-teeel overweight), and finally, here comes granny to save the day.
They are lucky they don't meet this granny, who would undoubtedly have an arsenal of firepower waiting to be tested on willing subjects.
The trouble with this two books - Fat Chance is slightly better by the way - is that the main characters are nothing more than caricatures. Predictable caricatures with all the baggages I can second-guess from get-go. The plots are thin to the point of nonexistence, relying on silly antics like making each other jealous or grannies saying dotty things to keep the tiny momentum going. It's not fun, it's not even funny, and I can't help but to think that unless the authors buck up, polish up their humor, and take time to create realistic characters, fat chance I will be amused. If I want cheap laughter, there's plenty of (free) lousy shows on TV.
Rating: 35 for Mr Wrong, 49 for Fat Chance.
Fat Chance at Amazon.com
Mr Wrong at Amazon.com
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