There are some authors that you can go to who are almost like comfort reads. You know that you’re going to get a certain writing style, a particular brand of heroine/hero or a unique kind of humour. For me Jennifer Crusie is one of those authors. After a hard day at work, when I just want a lighthearted laugh Crusie never fails to disappoint. And the book of hers I’m most likely to pick up as I wander past the shelves… Bet Me.
Humour, curvy heroine, dyslexic hero (and it’s dealt with beautifully), adult friendships, characters who don’t want the white picket fence and 2.5 kids.
Quote that best sums up the lead characters:
“What?” Min said, and Cal looked under the table. She pulled her foot out, and he looked down at her open-toed high-heeled mules, laced across her instep with black leather thongs that contrasted with her pale skin and bright red toenail polish. “Liza calls them ‘Toes in Bondage,'” she said helpfully.
As I said, Jennifer Crusie is one author who I can always depend on to make me smile and she really succeeds in this book about misunderstandings and assumptions. Minerva Dobbs is smart, funny, beautifully curvaceous and has a great group of friends, so its a pity her mother doesn’t see her that way. She is just finished being dumped by her ex (who in all honesty, she was only going out with so she would have a date for her sisters wedding) when she meets Calvin Hobbs, a handsome, successful, charming man who seems to have made a bet that he could get Min into bed.
Let me just say from the start that Cal didn’t make that bet. Yes, he does bet that he could get her to go to dinner with him but he doesn’t bet that he could get her into bed. I think I would have had a harder time liking a character that bet on that sort of thing. Unfortunately Min thinks he has made the bet and alternates between believing that it’s a good way to get a date for her sisters wedding, blaming him for making the bet and wanting to jump him anyway.
I love these characters – they both really struggle to throw off peoples expectations of them in different ways. Min, who’s mother thinks she should diet, be thin and well… be a replica of her and Cal who’s parents have never quite dealt with the fact that they have a son who has dyslexia and a soul. This means that Min and Cal’s insecurities come from very real, very personal sources and aren’t just put in as a character trait to make them more interesting. They are coming from very similar places and are pretty much on equal footing which makes the dialogue between the two sharp and witty, without being condescending or bitter.
The fun banter only increases when their friends get involved.
“He brought you food, understood your snow globes, taught you to cook, said you had a sexy body, and left without making a pass,” Bonnie said.
Bonnie looked at Liza. “He is a beast.”
There’s not that much heat in the book, but there’s plenty of romance. Watching Cal work so hard to win Min and Min work equally as hard resisting Cal is just plain fun. It would be different if there had been an actual bet involved but seeing as there wasn’t I could just sit back and enjoy the antics. All in all Bet Me’s quick, sharp dialogue, great characters and fun plot line makes for an enjoyable read (and re-read).