Double Trouble
by Claire Cross, contemporary (2001)
Jove, $6.99, ISBN 0-515-13178-4


Okay, because there is not one day in this two months that at least five people will search for the review of this book using the search engine, I have finally forced myself to finish this book and serve the review by popular demand. Well, Claire Cross fans, you asked for it, so don't lynch me.

The things I do for my beloved fellow human beings, I tell you.

Besides, it's either this book or Illustrated Postmortem Photographs of Cervical Cancer (don't ask, but it's a brand new copy meant to be a Christmas present for a gynecologist friend in Malaysia) while I'm on a train ride, and I'll take this author's brand of schizobabble over pictures of shrunken female gonads any time.

Reviewers have been very kind on Claire Cross and her alterego Claire Delacroix. Double Trouble have been compared to everything from Sex In The City to Bridget Jones's Diary, but I, for one, can't see any resemblance unless we are talking about the letter E in the title.

Maralys O'Reilly is telling this story. Seriously, narration in first person is no excuse to babble on and on and on, really. From what I can gather after seriously trying to filter Maralys' "I'm not on crack, really, I'm just perky!" babblings, this Mary is a cliché. She's an Internet agony aunt. Uh-oh, I thought - agony aunts in romance novels are all screwed up inside. Mary is no different.

She wants to be left alone because she... oh, forget it. I can't bear to hear the broken record any more. To add to my pain, she is one of those fake "bad girls" who are bad because inside, all she is is one lonely doofy who is afraid of emotions or some other shallow psychology pap.

She has a twin sister named Marcia who is married to James Coxwell. Coxwell, hmm? Okay, whatever really. Marcia is the complete opposite of Mary. I mean, come on, all twin sisters in romance novels are like that, you know: the Fake Slut and the Frigid Brighid. Frigid Brighid vanishes one day, leaving her two kids who sees Aunt Mary as a surrogate Mom anyway (Fake Sluts always have hidden maternal instincts). Coxwell coxes his well-coxed thingie at Mary, and we have Not-Kinky Spouse-Swapping Fun here.

Yawn.

Maralys is... I don't know. I think I'm supposed to relate to her: tough chick, soft inside, emotionally insecure, all she needs is babies and hubby in the end. But she and me, it's like elephant and ducks. I think I just insulted myself. Anyway, the author no doubt wants to make Mary a tough-outside/soft-inside heroine. What Mary end up as instead is a mess of annoying clichés. As for James, well, the coxwell is not that well-coxed, really.

The two kids are all stereotypes too. You know, how angsty they are because of some divorces, et cetera. Too much silly psychology makes up the rest of the fluff.

Yes, I know there are a zillion perfect reviews out there for this book, and I have ruined my credibility as a Serious Reader or something by panning this book. But you know what, I have one thing good to say about this book. Yes, one good thing. Want to hear it?

The poor washed-out Olsen twins may finally found the perfect script for a movie that will rekindle their careers! Isn't it great? Just imagine, we will fall in love with those two annoying FUBAR brats all over again, as they play the sickeningly sweet Mary and Marcia twins, Care Bear Chick Lit Heroine-Wannabes, just like they made Full House a horror TV series that was a class in itself.

Then again, maybe not.

Rating: 51


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