Escape To Paradise
by Pamela Yaye, contemporary (2012)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86246-7


Escape To Paradise is one of those charming stories that operate in a logic-free vacuum. I don't know how this thing manage to work its way to publication without someone pointing out the glaring inconsistencies and contradictions in the story to the author.

Poor Claudia Jeffries. Her ex-husband pulled an Enron and got sent to prison for it, and now everyone is sure that Claudia is his accomplice. Even the cops got into the picture, their interrogation of her sending poor Claudia reeling from the injustice of her situation. Of course, when everyone is scrutinizing her, it makes sense for her to quietly sneak off to Cabo San Lucas for a discreet getaway. This will surely convince those people that she has nothing to hide! Naturally, she has to travel first-class and check-in into a luxury suite to just decompress, that poor baby, even as she castigates the hero Santiago Medina for wearing expensive cologne that could have fed her "entire neighborhood". If she's talking about her high-class neighborhood, that must be some very expensive perfume.

That perfume thing is just one of the many examples where Claudia is hypocritically judging Santiago by his expensive lifestyle even as she happily swipes her Platinum MasterCard without a care for those poor and downtrodden people out there. Worse, when her card is declined, she sees nothing wrong in flirting and showing cleavage to tempt some sucker into giving her a luxury suite. Clearly, it is okay to spend beyond her means because she will die if she doesn't sleep a night in a luxury suite, but everyone else gets her thumbs down for not thinking about the poor children everywhere.

There isn't much plot in this story apart from Santiago coming to the rescue and giving Claudia a chance to earn her happily ever after. There is nothing remotely real about him. He's one-dimensionally bland and perfect. Hilariously enough, this man, who earns far more than two-thirds of the world, is held up by Claudia as an example of a man who doesn't have to earn a six-figure salary to keep it real. It only shows how out of touch from reality that silly woman is, I tell you. Back to Saint Santiago, he is convinced that she is "real" and "honest" after talking to her for a short while. His opinion of her is set in stone thereafter, unchanged and unwavering even when Claudia demonstrates that she is an emotional and clingy type who can't be trusted to make a sensible decision. He even chooses her over his father, despite knowing her only on a superficial level by the end of the story. While I do like a story where the hero for once chooses to trust the heroine instead of leaping to wild conclusions, here he really doesn't have a good reason to believe the best of Claudia. As a result, the story comes off as merely some contrived escapist fiction for women who wish to project themselves onto Claudia. Nothing, not logic, not consistent characterization, can stand in the way of feel-good melodrama!

It is hard to overlook the wild inconsistencies in this story to enjoy the escapist fantasy it offers. The heroine often contradicts herself while behaving like a passive and clingy twit who can't make up her mind about anything. Of course the hero loves her - he is created solely to be the heroine's box of Godiva Chocolates, only with a functional penis for extra joy during those moments when Claudia breaks a nail and feels an instant connection with starving and hungry third-world children. Any resemblance to reality in this story is certainly coincidental, and possibly unintentional.

Rating: 47


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