Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bad Romance

I don't read trashy romance novels. Really, I don't. I'm not saying that I'm sitting around reading Dickens, but my tastes are usually, say, somewhere below Dickens but above Twilight on the trash-o-meter. Not that I didn't read all of the Twilight books -- because I did. But usually the books I read are generally right around Oprah's-book-club level. Mostly mainstream stuff that you find on the "staff recommendations" shelf at Barnes and Noble. Mostly non-trashy.

All of that changed a few days ago when Amazon.com had a "recommendation" for me. It based this recommendation on some New Kids on the Block merchandise that somebody purchased using my account. I think my account was hacked. By magical elves. So that the elves could pre-order the new NKOTB biography that's going to be released Oct. 2. Or so I'm speculating.

The recommendation was a trashy romance novel called "Second Time Around", but I'm confused as to why Amazon thought I would like it. It was clearly not about The New Kids on the Block in any way. I mean, the name of the band in the book is "The Boys From the Block." And they don't have a hit song called "Hangin' Tough." It's called "Tough Enough." And the bad-boy member is absolutely, most certainly not Donnie Wahlberg. His name is "Dean Waldon."

I have to admit I was horrified and intrigued at the same time. Before I knew it, the magical elves had hacked my account again, and the book was downloaded onto my Kindle for $2.99. The elves forced me to read the entire thing. And now I'm here to tell you all about the book so you don't have to read it yourselves, or even hire elves to read it for you. You're welcome.

The first thing I learned about trashy romance novels is they don't require correct grammar, spelling, or punctuation. The author loved to fling apostrophes around with wild abandon. I tried counting them, but gave up around the 20-ish mark. (The worst offender: "Pilate's") She also liked to use "you're" instead of "your" and talked about the Donnie character's many "movie rolls".  But I quibble. Who cares about grammar when you have a story this good?

The main character is a late-30s-ish single mom named Shelby, who is obsessed with The Boys From The Block. Shelby just got divorced from her husband, Chad. Although we're told that Chad has "blonde hair, chocolate brown eyes, an athletic build and wonderful smile", we also know that Chad is Evil because a) he cheated on Shelby with their dog's veterinarian and b) he haaaaaaates The Boys From the Block and is always saying mean things about them. Boo, Chad!

Shelby's best friend is Kaye, a fancy, sassy lawyer who has been so busy being fancy and sassy all these years that she's never managed to land a husband. Julia Roberts will play Kaye in the movie version, and the women sitting behind me will repeat everything she says. Kaye is also obsessed with The Boys From The Block, but in a fancy, sassy way.

It turns out that Kaye's newest client at the fancy, sassy law firm is, of course, Jordan Knight Jared Hite, a "sinfully handsome" member of BFTB. (Side note: Jordan/Jared is married, but his wife is Evil.) Jordan/Jared gives Kaye two tickets to a concert, plus backstage passes. Backstage, Shelby encounters Donnie Wahlberg Dean Waldon, the BFTB member with whom she's been scarily obsessed in love for 20-some years. Their eyes meet. They go dancing -- dirty dancing, if you will. Some days later, all five members of BFTB suddenly show up at Shelby's house and she cooks them lasagna and reveals how obsessed she is with them. They all find this hilarious and charming, and not the least bit scary. I will remember this the next time the New Kids show up at my house.

It's during the lasagna encounter that Donnie/Dean realizes he's had it with long-legged models and instead is attracted to chunky, boy-band-obsessed stay-at-home moms from the suburbs. (You know this is what the real Donnie Wahlberg is thinking. You know it is.) Shelby and Donnie/Dean begin a dramatic affair, where many, many dramatic things happen: Shelby tells off Donnie/Dean's Evil ex-wife, who is always lurking around. Then the members of BFTB are involved in a dramatic plane crash. It's so upsetting that Shelby rushes to the bathroom and throws up (dramatically), and then begins to wonder if she is pregnant with Donnie/Dean's baby. She's not, and Donnie/Dean recovers from the plane crash injuries and invites Shelby to his opulent mansion in Beverly Hills.

All is well -- and there are many, many more vague sex scenes and long talks about "the relationship" -- until Shelby discovers photos on the Internet of Donnie/Dean dancing  -- dirty dancing, if you will -- at a club with a Playboy model on New Year's Eve. She can't understand that dirty dancing with Playboy models is simply part of his job. You can't tame Dean Walton, Shelby! You can't! No woman can! They break up. Dramatically.

Some time later, Shelby's friends (or, as the author would say, her "friend's") take her to Atlantic City where BFTB are performing. Shelby gets drunk and goes (dirty) dancing at a club with the other four members of the group to make Donnie/Dean jealous. Finally, she ends up dancing (dirtily, of course) drunkenly with Donnie/Dean and confesses her love for him. Blah, blah, blah, more talks about "the relationship", and then Shelby seduces Donnie/Dean by hiding in his cabin on the BFTB cruise ship wearing nothing but a Boston Celtics jersey.

Of course -- of course! -- this prompts Donnie/Dean to propose. And they'll live happily ever after. The end.

I forgot to mention that partway through the book, Kaye (the fancy, sassy lawyer) begins dating BFTB member Danny Wood David Ward, and they also get engaged on the Boys From The Block cruise ship! You just know there is going to be a double-wedding with the other group members serving as groomsmen, and we're going to learn all about it in ... the sequel. Yes. There is an actual sequel to this book. The magical elves are downloading it right now.



1 comment:

Sandy said...

I hate all the grammatical errors in these quickly created trashy romance stories, but I totally loved your review... can't wait for the next one - review, that is!