Love Struck: A Novel Paperback – Feb 15 2010
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Quill & Quire
Chick lit: love it or hate it, it must be acknowledged that there are good examples of the maligned genre and not-so-good examples. Chantel Simmons’ debut, 2007’s Stuck in Downward Dog, was the former, with a believable plot, a sympathetic (though often just pathetic) heroine, and a light but enjoyable tone. Her second attempt, unfortunately, falls into the latter category.
The protagonist is 28-year-old image consultant Poppy Ross, whose intellect and maturity level seem to have stalled sometime around her senior prom. Upon discovering that her gorgeous, successful husband, Parker, is having an affair with a co-worker (a Brit named Sienna, no less), Poppy’s first reaction is to kill him, followed by the realization that “I couldn’t kill Parker. I’d have to go to jail and I’d look absolutely horrible in the regulation orange jumpsuit.” Cringe.
Aside from its horrifically superficial, insipid, and not particularly likeable heroine, the book also suffers from a completely unbelievable plot. At the precise moment Poppy is learning of her husband’s infidelity, he is struck by lightning, resulting in amnesia that wipes out all memory of the affair. In an attempt to prevent him from remembering the tryst, and to save her otherwise “perfect” marriage from ruin, Poppy decides to remake herself in Sienna’s image.
This is not the first time Poppy has attempted such a transformation. When she met Parker, she was a salt-of-the-earth waitress, but became a prototypical upper-crust girlie-girl in order to fit in with her Bay Street husband and his friends. After his accident, Parker quits his job, starts scrapbooking, and declares that he wants to be a father. Poppy, who was as adamantly opposed to having kids as her husband (prior to his near-death experience, at least), again changes her mind to suit him. The message would seem to be that as long as a girl gives her man exactly what he wants, he will never stray.
Simmons was praised for making Stuck in Downward Dog more about getting a life than getting a guy, but she’s taken a huge step backward with Love Struck. With saccharine dialogue, a forgettable cast of characters, and a storyline that is both slow-moving and predictable, it’s safe to say that lightning has not struck twice for this author.
?On par with what real women go through, Stuck in Downward Dog is a been-there, done-that fantastic read that leaves us rooting for Mara and wishing water weight on pretty much everyone else. We laughed, we cried and we even held plank position for thirty seconds longer than normal to show our support.? ?Sweetspot.ca ?Simmons inserts an intriguing tweak to the existing chick-lit formula. Instead of setting up a romance as the ultimate goal of the novel, the story instead focuses on Mara?s personal achievement in the wake of the wreckage of her relationship... A refreshingly realistic (and, some may argue, feminist) take that women sick of the same old romance-defined shtick will relish.? ?What?s On WinnipegSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
This fun book from Canadian author Chantel Simmons kept me laughing until the end! Poppy's attempts to turn herself into something that she's not made for entertaining material, and Parker's abrupt personality change certainly helped to keep things interesting. At times I wanted to yell at Poppy and Parker as they stubbornly refused to communicate with one another, but that was definitely part of the underlying theme of Love Struck: marriages without communication are bound to have problems. Poppy was endearing as a confused wife willing to do anything to save her marriage, and Parker was entertaining as a man who almost lost his life and was determined to live his life to the fullest, given this second chance. I really enjoyed this charming book, and loved that just underneath the surface there was a great lesson to be learned.
I laughed frequently during Poppy's attempts at transformation and was cheering for her to overcome her insecurities, often times cringing at her decisions and found myself wanting to yell at Poppy and Parker throughout the novel. I cared about these characters and was rooting for them to figure it all out.
This novel captured my attention and I was eager to find out how Poppy and Parker's journey would end. My only concern was that I found the beginning a little slower and I was worried I wouldn't enjoy this book (Kathryn didn't feel this way), but I continued reading and was pleasantly surprised. Once I became fully engulfed in their situation, I couldn't put the book down, wanting to see what happens.
Poppy could be considered a Canadian Bridget Jones and she certainly had elements to her that made me laugh out loud with her antics and decisions, self doubt and insecurity. This novel portrayed her self discovery well and I didn't feel it was too much of a leap as I have found with some novels in the past.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good laugh and a light hearted read and I will definitely keep an eye out for future novels from Chantel Simmons.