April 2015 - update
I have been reading a couple of different books, and everything seemed slow, plodding. I wanted something light and funny to lift my spirit so I turned to one of my old favorites by Crusie, and it didn't disappoint. I enjoyed it tremendously and I laughed myself happy. Love this book.
April 2013 - original review
I’m a fan of Jennifer Crusie. I’ve already read everything written by her, so this charming little novel, one of the author’s earlier books, is a re-read.
Like many Crusie’s novels, this story is a romance but it doesn’t conform to all the romance tropes. Most bookstores shelve Crusie with regular fiction, and I know why.
The protagonist Kate wants to get married. She is tied of being alone. As a very successful and rich businesswoman, she decides to go after her goal with a business plan: to find a tall, successful, distinguished and rich businessman who would love her. To bring her plan to life, she takes a vacation and drives to a top-notch golf resort.
The resort teems with tall, successful, distinguished and rich businessmen, but none of them engages her heart, until Jake shows up: a tall, unkempt, disreputable groundkeeper, lazy but restful. As the two of them fish on a lake every morning in companionable silence, with their fishing hooks cut off the lines, so the fish would have no incentive to get suicidal, Kate starts to revise her business plan, and the man of her dreams begins resembling Jake, although she knows he is all wrong for her. He is not successful, not distinguished, not rich, and not a businessman. Or is he?
The book was by turns side-splitting funny and insightful, populated by vivid characters and studded with witty dialog, bright descriptions, and absurd situations. It felt as if the author enjoyed writing it as much as I enjoyed reading it. It felt as if we laughed together. My one objection: it was too short. I wanted to prolong the pleasure. The other Crusie’s books beckon.
Here are a couple of my favorite quotes.
Before Jake met Kate, his brother berates him for his laziness:
“…get your life moving before you turn into a potted plant and the help starts watering you.”
After a few days of her association with Jake, Kate revises her plan:
Maybe she should focus her plan better. What she wanted was somebody distinguished and successful who was also caring and honest. Sort of a cross between her father and Jake. She tried to imagine what that cross would look like and couldn’t. It was like trying to cross a shark with a teddy bear.
An enchanting book.