Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Cal Morrisey knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. But fate has other plans...
I think this is the most perfect chick lit book I have ever read. It was hilarious, for one -- the one-liners just kept coming the whole novel through. And they were *good* one-liners, funny, smart, sexy, and witty. The characters were fabulous -- well-drawn, quirky, likeable (the good guys), deliciously unlikeable (the bad guys), intelligent, and fully fleshed-out. These were people I wanted to get to know and hang out with, the kind of people I could see myself being friends with. And the plot was utterly absorbing. Once I started, I couldn't put the book down. Literally. I stayed up until 9:00 in the morning finishing this thing; by the end, I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open, but I kept on reading instead of doing the sensible thing and, y'know, sleeping, because I just *had* to know what happened next. It's been a while since I've been that caught up in a book. I'm going to have to check out Jennifer Crusie's other novels, because that was really a lot of fun!
Oh! I forgot to mention the best part! The overweight heroine doesn't lose weight to win the heart of the hero! Not only is she as fat for the happily-ever-after ending as she was for the beginning, but the hero kept feeding her all the way through the novel because he liked the look on her face when she ate something yummy. I was starving when I finished _Bet Me_ -- people kept eating pasta, chicken marsala, and Krispy Kreme donuts! I've been waiting a long time for a book that said you don't have to be thin to be happy, and actually *meant* it. Thanks, Ms. Crusie!
All of that seems missing from "Bet Me", her latest. I'm told it's an older manuscript that got polished for publication -- but much of what I enjoy about Cruisie's work is missing. There are no really likeable characters here, especially in the parents of lead characters Min and Calvin. In terms of romance and sexual situations, which Crusie excels at - you can get warm reading what Calvin thinks about Min, but you really can't see much real passion from any of the other characters for their various partners. The characters I hated included Cynthie, David...and I was pretty impatient with Bonnie and her outlook on fairy tale lives (although her proposal to Calvin's friend was witty)...and Crusie went on and on about Min's weight, her self-consciousness, and her carb count. Truly, this book was an advertisement for Krispy Kreme donuts and chicken Marsala.
Crusie can do much, much better, and I'm looking forward to her next work of original, and not reworked material.
2 stars - I really wouldn't bother, if I were you.
I read another book by this author entitled "Welcome To Temptation" and I did not like it. I will always give an author another try so when I read the first chapter of "Bet Me", I thought I was in for a good read. Well, halfway through I was again bored with these quirky characters. I am not a sourpuss or a prude and I love "Sex In The City" but all these characters really needed to get a life. Min is voluptuous and is constantly bemoaning her weight. Min's mother constantly reminds her about her weight. Cal is a hit and run lover who cannot commit to a woman. One friend, Bonnie is living in a fairy tale world. Min's sister, Diana, is not a happy bride. Min's mother is a pain in the butt. Cal's mother is a self-centered witch. And we hear the same things over and over and over. The love scene finally arrives at the end of the book and that also is a big letdown.
I now realize that there is no sitting on the fence with this author. You either like or dislike her work.