You Had Me at Good-bye
‘You know what I think it is, girls?…I think Jack and Cate Able are an item.’
‘What?’ Tabby says. ‘What makes you say that?’
‘They’re both English.’
Okay, so this isn’t the most realistic book. And, as you can see from the quote above, it reads a little like Sophie Kinsella meets Jan Karon. It’s not the funniest novel, and it’s not the most clever. It’s not even the best inspirational chick-lit romance I’ve ever read, which is kind of strange. But Tracey Bateman can do a couple of things right when it comes to writing, and so this book wasn’t a total wash.
First, I loved her characters. I wanted to be friends with absolutely all of them, which sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. So many chick lit characters are just insufferable, and Tracey Bateman has done the book world a favor bywriting a heroine who isn’t Becky Bloomwood.
Dancy Ames, despite her odd name, is a person who genuinely strives to do what she thinks is best in everything. She is forced to take a ‘vacation’ from her editorial job due to a mishap with an author, so she volunteers her time to help out the guy in the coffee shop downstairs — not because he’s cute (which he isn’t), not because he’s particularly nice to her, but because she sees he’s short on help and she knows she can do something about it.
Dancy also takes in her newly discovered sixteen-year-old half brother so he can go to Juliard rather than moving to Florida with his mom. Why? Because she can and she knows it’s the right thing to do. Even though she’s not always the brightest, I would definitely want Dancy as a friend, and I think that counts for something when it comes to books like these. Her roommates are similarly delightful, and even male love interest Jack Quinn is delightfully…well, delightful.
Honestly, I know Tracey Bateman is probably writing because she feels it’s her spiritual gift, and it’s clear her faith is important to her. But I think what’s more important is that her characters are good people, and even though this is an inspirational romance, their faith just feels like something that enhances their inherent goodness, rather than some plot device designed to convert the reader and show them how wrong their ways are.
In short, I wish my life was like this book — uncomplicated, filled with good people and coffee, with the promise of a happy ending. No one’s saying it’s the best book ever written…but it’s good enough to escape with for a few hours on a quiet Sunday, especially if you’re feeling particularly guilty about how Saucy your Saturday was ;)
Entry filed under: Romance and Chick Lit. Tags: .