Drive Me Wild
by Julie Ortolon, contemporary (2000)
Dell, $5.99, ISBN 0-440-23618-5


Once upon a time in the small town of Beason's Ferry, white trash rebel Brent Michaels Zartlich gives his friend Laura Morgan a chaste kiss on the cheek. He's a rebel through and through, she's a studious misfit-wannabe who's from a rich family. Laura never did tell him she has a crush on him.

Now, they're all grown-ups and ready to play. Laura persuades Brent to return to Beason's Ferry to take part in a dating game for good cause. Brent picks Laura, and they get the canoodies looking at each other, but can Brent play with Laura's bra straps without feeling unworthy of her?

There is a glorious exuberance reminiscent of the best Bruce Springsteen rock tune in the first few chapters of Drive Me Wild. Laura and Brent really click and the chemistry is palpable.

Things do downhill, however, the moment there pops the dreaded ... but she knew so little about sex on page 91, and DMW never recovers from its abysmal plunge onto Contrived County. It is one thing for Laura to be a twenty-eight year old wanting to loosen up, but I don't see why there need to be brought up Laura's zilch knowledge in sex. Is there a need to make our heroine a nincompoop? No biology courses in the colleges and high schools of Beason's Ferry?

Thankfully, Laura soon moves out of Beason's Ferry and things get less annoying. That is, until she passes the Torch Of Contrivances to Brent. Oh, I don't want to spoil her reputation and image so I push her away and then when she retreats in confusion I act like a bear with a thorn on my bum and make her even more confused! act abounds from our hero-turned-doofus.

I wanted to scream. What happened to the initial fun and James-Deanish feel-good zing of this story? How the heck did I end up in this boring, irritating story? It's as if someone plastered two books of different qualities into one.

Drive Me Wild is subpar, all the more disappointing because it promises fun that is never delivered. Hopefully the next time around Ms Ortolon would stop trying to create stereotypical - and unrealistic - characters and get on with the things she hints that she is good at - humor and bounce.

Rating: 63


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