L.A. Woman
by Cathy Yardley, contemporary (2002)
Red Dress Ink, $12.95, ISBN 0-373-25016-9


I'm not asking Red Dress Ink to be outright clones of British chicklits, but if they want to keep me reading, they better lose their fear of offending their readers and get claws fast. Cathy Yardley's contribution to the line, L.A. Woman is almost there (I raise an eyebrow in delighted surprise when a character yells, "You're a c**t!" to another) when it comes to razor sharp bitchiness, but where it flounders is its lack of focus and characters straight out of Cliché Hell.

Doormatsy heroine with oblivious and tool boyfriend? Check. Hi, Sarah Walker. She moves to LA ahead of her boyfriend, only to learn - slowly - that her workaholic boyfriend may not have any intention of following her there soon. She rooms up with the Sexually Adventurous Plot Device, Martika, and Martika here has a gay best friend who also happens to be the perfect hairdresser and beautician. Yo, girlfriends, are we all clichés today or what?

Sexually Adventurous Plot Device and Gay Plot Device soon try to give Brown Cow Plot Device a makeover. And another. And another. And one more. And yet one more after that. Brown Cow Plot Device wanders around aimlessly, cluelessly, whining often to break the monotony, and I have to use car jacks to keep my eyes open. Okay, I lied about the car jacks. I was watching Inventing The Abbots on TV, and between Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup, I have plenty to keep me distracted when the boredom caused by L.A. Woman becomes too thick and suffocating.

Me, Joaquin, and Billy - now how's that for a chick lit plot. Anyone?

Ahem. Anyway, L.A. Woman seems to have the tone and atmosphere right. I don't live in LA though, so I don't know how spot on Ms Yardley's portrayal of single life in LA is. However, the monotonous cycle of cluelessness on Brown Cow Plot Device's part and the uninspired wannabe antics of Sexually Adventurous Plot Device and Gay Plot Device all render L.A. Woman a poor carbon copy of a British chick lit. It's just not happenin', the poor thing.

Rating: 70


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