Ya know how people always say “I wouldn’t be caught dead reading that kind of book,” or “I wouldn’t touch that kind of movie with a ten foot pole.” For my wife, it’s western movies. I don’t mind, because she enjoys comic book movies with me (which I prefer over westerns, anyway.) I know, I’m a lucky, lucky man.
For me, it’s obvious; I don’t have much time for romances. I don’t like the obvious formulas, the shuddering caresses and trembling limbs…pu-lease! No disrespect to the authors who do this, but I’ve never been able to elicit such reactions from the ladies (I was more often the “Special Friend.” Ladies, do us a favor and retire this term), so it all seems pretty far-fetched to me. Give me a space ship or a magic ring any day.
Twice this year, I ventured into this strange territory. I recently finished Blog Master Tali Roland’s “The Hating Game.” Honestly, I quite liked it. The premise is that the protagonist, Matti Johns, winds up on a dating-based reality show when she finds herself in financial trouble.
I found that this hard-as-nails business woman was revealed gradually, as the depth and layers of this ball-busting bitch are fleshed-out through the story. Against the background of an awkward and uncomfortable television setting, she is pitted against production staff with varying degrees of ethics, and struggles to hold her own during the twists that we’ve come to expect in reality shows.
While a bitter protagonist can be hard to like, she is nicely tempered by her more sensitive best friend, Jess. I also found that the failed fling described in the first chapter was so amusing that I could relate to her ill-feelings towards any romantic involvement. The garlic farmer was also a well thought-out character, and well-placed in the story.
Being set in London, there were a few references to stores or neighborhoods that I was not familiar with. However, the context of the comments gave me the gist of the type of places she was referring to, so it wasn’t very different than the fictional locales I’m used to.
While the romantic elements are dominant, I found that the story was strong, and it was easy to stay interested. I’m happy for the chance to support my Blogger buddies, but I’m happier still when I’m enjoying a good story in the process. I’d highly recommend this book, even if you’re like me and do not naturally gravitate towards romantic stories. Cheers, Tali, on a job well done.