Friday, October 23, 2009

18. 20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak

One night when Colin was working, I spent a long time trying to figure out how to check out ebooks from my library and found it to be impossible. The next day, Colin figured it out in 5 minutes (maybe less). I chose this book based on the two-line summary provided on the ebooks webpage, mainly because I wanted to try out this exciting new technology with something that sounded fun and easy. Blogs aren't the only thing I can read on my laptop!

20 Times a Lady presents us with Delilah Darling, our zany chick lit heroine de jour. Delilah is a thirty-year-old singleton living and working in Manhattan whose life crashes down around her after she's laid off. After celebratory/commiseratory drinks with her former coworkers, she wakes up the next day in her archenemy's apartment and is disgusted to realize that she actually slept with him. Chalk it up to the margaritas and move on? Not so simple this time. Delilah recently read a New York Times article stating that the average woman has 10.5 sexual partners in her lifetime. A shocking and somewhat devastating discovery for the excitable Delilah, whose number has somehow reached 19. She avows that she will not exceed 20; giving herself one last chance to find her soulmate -- one last chance which she has now blown on Roger, the aforementioned disgusting archenemy. In a desperate attempt to keep her vow, she decides to use her severance pay to track down her 19 former lovers and try to figure out what went wrong with each relationship. With any luck, she'll be able to rekindle a romance with one of them, and narrowly avoid breaking the vow.

I got the feeling while reading (on my laptop!) that Bosnak had some kind of study guide on how to write chick lit, and followed it to the letter. There are no real surprises here, no effort to step out of the box. Delilah is a little too zany for my tastes; her antics walked the fine line between entertaining and annoying. Who would throw away all of their severance pay on a fool's errand instead of looking for another job? Who checks into rehab to see an ex because he's in the middle of a stay there and can't receive visitors? Seriously! Delilah's cast of supporting characters serve her well, from her supportive best friend to her overbearing mother to her new neighbor with the sexy Irish accent. The major plot points can be seen from more than a mile away, including the ingenious twist that allows our heroine to avoid being 21 times a lady, but the interactions with the exes are interesting and humorous for the most part. This would be a good read for a day at the beach or on a plane ride, meaning that it's okay for a couple of hours of mindless fun, but I think that there's definitely better to be had in this genre. While it was a good concept with some nice moments and a few laughs, it just didn't quite hit the mark for me.

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