Monday, January 17, 2011

Week Two: Maybe Next Time

Week Two:

Title: Maybe Next Time

Author: Jennifer Crusie

Pages: 352 Summary:

Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiancé and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything.

When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiancé thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting.

What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-inlaw, and, of course, her jealous fiancé. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them.

If Andie can just get rid of all the guests and ghosts, she’s pretty sure she can save the kids, and herself, from the past. But fate might just have another thing in mind… "


So, obviously this isn't The Year of Living Biblically. While I have high hopes of reading mostly books that have stout literary value, let's be honest, sometimes you just want a good mindless read. Enter Maybe Next Time and my mind being a little too excited about babies to read anything too deep.

First of all, I really like this author. While she generally includes more ... adult... content than I would prefer in a book, she writes such great characters and incredibly funny dialog. The books are funny in a way that a conversation with a friend you've known forever is funny and she doesn't explain her jokes. There is nothing more irritating to me than when someone is writing a character that quotes moves or songs and then endlessly has that character immediately say where the quote is from. Unless you are Michael Scott, no one does that in real life. No one says "Man, I was having the worst day. Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. That's from Ghostbusters, by the way." Seriously, that is my worst book pet peeve. That and writing "for" when you really want to say "because". Crusie writes modern dialogue in a way that doesn't make you think that she thinks you are an idiot.

I digress.

So, Crusie's specialty seems to be characters that are particularly zany but not in an annoying way. She really fleshes out each person well and you don't feel like you are reading a Nora Roberts book or a Harlequin novel. I absolutely loved the mom and mother-in-law in this book and the medium. All were very funny in their own right and no one was too over the top or one note. And the fact that the entire book is about ghosts and a haunted house makes it even better.

That being said, Crusie can lay the s-e-x stuff on thick sometimes. This particular book only had one scene that was easily skipped through and the rest of the book was good enough that flipping through that page or two wasn't a deal breaker. That really is the case with most of her books (except Welcome to Temptation, which while hilarious, has much much more *adult* content, even if it's funny).

I read this in the course of a single night and couldn't put it down, it was so fun. It is by no means a book that will stretch your mind or make you think about anything, really, but it's a great beach read or cold night read or my brain is fried because I'm so stoked that I'm pregnant read.

The Unsinkable's Final Rating:
I recommend this book to readers who are cool with flipping past a sex scene or two and who really, really like to laugh and who think ghosts are funny.

Up Next:
The Year of Living Biblically. No no, I mean it this time. And maybe another Crusie book I got at the library just in case my brain is still on Baby Baking mode :)


Tiffany said...

It sounds like this is definitely a tribute to/updating of Henry James' /Turn of the Screw/, which I almost included for you to rad -- right down to the Mrs. Danvers character named Mrs. Danvers. I'm glad yu enjoyed it, but I would definitely recommend reading James' story. Not only is it an American literary classic but it is also a great read. I can even send my teaching copy to you that has all my notes in the margin, if that's a tempting offer... :)

Tiffany said...

Oops. I meant that it is a combination of /Turn of the Screw/ and /Rebecca/ (which IS on your list). Mrs. Danvers is in Rebecca, not TotS. Anyway, it sounds like it is a tribute to some of those great, late-Gothic psychological thrillers of the late 19th and early 20th century.