by Doug Murphy, contemporary (2004)
iUniverse, $13.95, ISBN 1-4116-8693-4
Translator's Kiss is a simple story about our twentysomething college-bound hero, Michel Pernaud, who is in love with Sophie but is increasingly distracted by Bridgette, the daughter of the billionaire who he is currently doing translations for. His problem with Sophie is that her father doesn't approve of him. Oh, so what would a handsome guy do under such circumstances?
What's that, you say? Ditch the useless girlfriend and snag the billionaire's daughter? Of course, that would make this story pragmatic rather than romantic, I suppose. But that's not the problem with this story. The problem is a fatal one: Sophie is, to be blunt, a complete wang-teasing bitch who doesn't have the guts to go against her father but is happy to string Michel along nonetheless. Her conversations with Michel are painful to read because contempt seems to reek from every word she directs to Michel, from the way she emasculates him by happily rehashing her father's objections to his face while telling him that he needs to switch majors to business because otherwise they won't have any money when they get together all the way to her increasingly cringe-inducing self-absorbed antics later into the story. What on earth does Michel see in this woman, other than her obvious physical endowments? Bridgette comes off so much better than Sophie, so in this case, the only sane action Michel should do is to give Bridgette what she wants and spends the rest of his life happily being a rich woman's husband. Hey, it's not like he'll have more claim to male pride if he ends up with that crybaby dim-witted bitch Sophie.
The characterization in this book is either one-dimensional in a pleasant way (Bridgette) or a terrible manner (Sophie). Michel ends up being a bland main character who seems bizarrely fixated on the idea of catering to Sophie's every whims. Is it because he's young? Kids, they'll learn one day, I suppose.
For a romantic comedy to work, the romance should be at least believable. The romance in Translator's Kiss, on the other hand, seems to tell me that the main character must have suffered too many knocks in the head to even want to pursue an unpleasant object of his affections!
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