When I Think Of You
by Liz Ireland, contemporary (2002)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7116-7


While lacking the emotional poignancy of her big time debut Husband Material, When I Think Of You shares a common fatal flaw with that book: by page 200, the story has long stalled and are heading into "honey we don't talk at all" mode. Turn off the lights people, things are moving in a merry-go-round of futility and there's nothing more to see.

While Husband Material's elegant first half resonates long enough to keep my ennui at bay, When I Think Of You is fluffier, less engaging, and hence unable to stop my inner werewolf from howling at the moon.

Combining the wedding porn of Chick lit, ie the "She Wants To Get Married NOW!" thing, with the best guy waiting in the wings thing, ie the Bridget Jones Bastardizing Jane Austen (Thank God for Colin Firth) thing, this book tells the story of Celia Snowden, who makes dating Mr Wrongs a Picasso-like artwork entitled "Agonizing Ovulations". Davis Smith has been in love with her since he first spies her in the nearby cubicle at their Portland Times office, but you know, he's her safe best friend to whine to while she licks her wounds from her disastrous relationships.

When Davis starts working out and dressing nice, that's when she notices him. But by then, I'm fed up. I've read too many variations of this Self-Absorbed Girl Takes Advantage of Nice Guy thing before, seen enough of them at movies and TV screens (I loathe that Jennifer Aniston movie Picture Perfect, which is what this story seems to take after), and by then I'm so sick of waiting for Celia to get a clue that I want her to just get lost and leave me to Davis' amusing and self-effacing humor. Now here's a catch, I tell you. In a better world, this guy will be ambushed by a Mrs Giggles after work and we'll test out how much weight and pressure that glass pane of the Xerox machine can withstand.

But it's not all bad. Davis is hot and cute, and really, he's just begging for a wild hot after-office shag, the sort that leaves a pair of high heels embedded onto the ceiling. There are also an amusing cast of secondary characters straight out of a sitcom that make up for the long, agonizing circle of want/not-want futility that Davis and Celia indulge in in the later half of the book.

Judging from her track record so far, with me Liz Ireland can't do wrong with her heroes and humor. But egads, her pacing! This is the second time in a row that her book just stops dead in the middle, and if this happens a third time, I'm going to start buying her books at the UBS. It's only fair that I pay half the cover price, after all, I'll be paying for only half a story.

Rating: 76


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