by Victoria Leigh, contemporary (1993)
Loveswept, $3.50, ISBN 0-553-44368-2
Flyboy starts out with some dubious action-packed type of bang. Lt Col Matt Cooper, our hero, leads an evacuation team to the island of Pilau, which is about to be hit by Typhoon Harry. However, the process is disrupted by our heroine Jennifer Delaney, who insists on running back to town and retrieve her charge's doll. She insists that this is necessary, even if the clock is ticking and they are all going to be fish meat if they don't leave soon, because that little girl she is babysitting will scream and cry if that brat doesn't have her doll. Matt does what every sensible fellow will do and drag her bony ass off into that plane anyway.
Jennifer then proceeds to subject everyone to two hours plus of her charge's constant wailing and screaming. The thing is, I'm supposed to feel sorry for that wailing banshee demon child when I'm actually wondering what kind of useless nanny Jennifer is if she can't even calm a child down. Naturally, Jennifer is praised for being a maternal darling when all I want to do is to bang my head against the wall. So taken by Jennifer is Matt that he asks her out.
This story then peters into a painful sequence of contrived arguments and separations. Matt is especially obnoxious as this control freak who reels Jennifer in, makes her believe that he cares for her, and in the process insists on dictating where she lives and what she does when he's not around because he is concerned for her safety. At the same time, he's determined to leave her one day because little boy here has commitment issues. Really now, if he wants to leave her, why lead her to believe that they are on to something good? Jennifer is no prize either. She's one of those bizarre women who insist on being independent and self-reliant to the point that she comes off as deranged. It is as if she will die if she plays nice with someone of the opposite sex. When these two are together, they are taking turns at instigating an argument that cause them to walk away in a huff. This is followed by some make-up smooch scene, before the other person instigates another argument and they part ways again. Repeat and rinse, and I stop caring after the third time the cycle repeats itself.
When the happy ending feels like another brief calm before the next tedious argument, Flyboy is clearly grounded in mediocrity.
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