"Dress You Up in My Love" is Diane Stingley's first novel and it is not a fluke. Her witty dialogue and raw delve into her characters is absolutely wonderful. Her passion for her craft is so apparent. I can only hope that her agent has her stashed away somewhere inspirational, where she is hard at work on her next novel. For this woman to not write full-time would be a crime...she is THAT good. More than even the plot, Stingley has a way of saying things that most of us are thinking. The cover design by Min Choi is so original and appropriate for the title that there is no telling how many readers initially picked up this book because they were intrigued by the cover. I hope that Stingley works together with Choi in the future, because the artist has showcased her work brilliantly. "Dress You Up in My Love " is the story of 30-something Samantha Stone, who finds that inventing the perfect boyfriend is not as easy as it looks. It is a refreshing and realistic novel that will leave you looking for more of Stingley's books in the future.
Samantha Stone is 34 and sick of being the one who always messes up, particularly in her implacable mother's eyes. When her childhood friend, one-time boyfriend and lifelong crush Greg reveals to her --- moments after sleeping with her -- that he is in love with a single mother named Debbie, she decides to hire an actor to portray the fake boyfriend she has been telling everyone about. He is Alex Graham, a gorgeous orthodontist who is crazy about her. The actor Mark Simpson wants total creative control over this character, and turns Alex into a sanctimonious creature whom everyone BUT Sam loves. She wants to break up with both him and Mark -- and often does not know when Mark is "in character" or himself. The social approbation of having a boyfriend soon wears off, but now she is so deep in the lies that it looks like she has to marry her fake boyfriend. This is great fun for everyone who knows that they are not the daughter their mother wanted, and tries to make her happy anyway.
I totally loved this book! I actually picked it up because a friend told me it was totally appropriate for the holidays and all of the family angst and insanity that goes along with them. I couldn't stop laughing when I read it! The heroine is a real nut in that great Bridget Jones kind of way. The family is hysterical and I LOVED the actor and all of his "I am an artiste!" schtick. He made such a great straight man ( I mean in the humor sense, not the non-gay sense :-) This is a great quick read (I read it all in one sitting, which is a real miracle for me) and you can and should make it a point to read it sometime during all of the craziness and parties and shopping this season. Since it took me an hour to wait for a parking spot the last time I headed to the mall, I think you should have a copy on your person in case any time like that springs up. Not that I am advocating reading and driving, of course.
Diane Stingley is a community columnist for a newspaper in my area. Her style is satirical, witty, and so on target. Her subject matter is usually us--Americans and the culture we are trapped in. When I heard she had written a novel, I knew I would have to read it. I devoured Dress You Up in My Love in a couple of days; it took that long only because I wanted to savor the humor. Several times I laughed out loud. "Nothing like finding out you're gay to straighten out your life" was my favorite line. I haven't laughed this much since I read Raney by Clyde Edgerton a few years back. The first-person narration is perfect for this story. The ending is a roller coaster ride. Buy this book for your summer reading; you and your friends will take turns reading it. I hope Diane is working on another one!
This book CRACKED me up! As a busy single chick who definitely feels the family holiday pressure of "So where's YOUR boyfriend?" I can totally relate to Samantha Stone and her misadventures in singledom and daughterdom. You will not BELIEVE the antics in this book. I was on the floor laughing while also falling in love with all the characters, and you'll never guess what happens in the end. You deserve a break from battling humanity at the malls and figuring out how to baste a turkey for the first time. BUY THIS BOOK AND READ IT IN ONE NIGHT! Much more accessible than "Good in Bed" or "Confessions of a Shopaholic." And you can buy it for all your girlfriends, too, just in time for Christmas!
This a book for anybody who has been made insane by the holidays. I dread having to go back East every year at Christmas and face the family with no guy on the horizon. How many times have I thought about inventing a boyfriend just to keep the heat off? This one made me laugh and I know that I will be picturing all of Samantha Stone's craziness as I am being interrogated about my lovelife over the Christmas turkey, this year. I laughed out loud about 20 times while I was reading Dress You Up In My Love and I think that anybody who loves the chick-lit books will go for this one.
I am not a big fiction reader and happened to pick this book up "just 'coz". It was one of the best surprises I've received recently. The main character's plot is crazy, but uncanningly not too far from what many of us are capable of doing! I enjoyed this book so much and constantly found myself laughing out loud while I read it. A definite recommended read for anyone with a sense of humour, especially women who've haven't had a straigt-line-path in relationships with the opposite sex.
This one fits the bill if you are looking for a quick , funny, escapist read. Samantha Stone is quirky, cynical and desperate and this makes for a really fun heroine. Her antics made me laugh out loud and I had a great time reading this book last week after a monumentally crappy day at work. By bedtime I had totally forgotten what a horse's hind end my boss was. If a book can make that happen, it's GOT to be some good stuff!
Seriously fun! I really like the whole imaginary boyfriend thing because you just KNOW things are going to go to hell. I would have given it 5 Stars but I only give 5 stars to one book (ok, three) and that is the Lord of the Rings. Yes, I know, I am one of those people. But we like Bridget Jonsey things, too.