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What recap? Spotlight on Lucy Crocker 2.0, with the usual spoiler warning

February 25, 2010

My boyfriend graduated with an MA in creative writing.  One of his profs drove him nuts because he felt she couldn’t get out of the idea that the best novels were about rich white people having problems.

I think his prof would love Lucy Crocker 2.0.

Don’t get me wrong; I had a pretty good time reading this book, about a librarian technophobe who inadvertently creates a video game hit for her husband’s software company.  But at its core, it’s about rich white people having problems.  Lucy’s post-miscarriage art therapy is to help her husband with his latest project, Maiden’s Quest, which is a puzzle game that people go crazy for.  Now they’ve got everything they want, except that Lucy can’t come up with a sequel and her husband is starting to get frustrated with her.  After being offered a massage by an edgy subordinate, he delves into having a sensual, then sexual, dalliance that his wife discovers while checking his email for him.  On top of that, her twin sons are looking at porn on the internet–one because he’s that age, and the other because he fancies himself a hacker and likes the challenge of finding it for free.  Lucy, who still harbors issues over choosing the nerd over the nature man she dated right before him, flips out and ships her pasty, computer-addicted sons off to hardcore wilderness camp, and herself out to her family’s cabin.  This is when I start having issues with the book, other than something else I’ll discuss a little later.

Lucy finds the place in shambles, even though she’s been paying her brother a ton of money, which was supposed to be for “renovations.”  Look, I don’t care how rich you are, if your jackass brother scams you out of like $10,000, you don’t blow it off because your husband’s having an affair.  This is an issue that has NO resolution; when Lucy’s husband shows up at the cabin at the end of the book, he doesn’t even notice nothing’s been done and they’ve been taken for a ride.  ARGH.

Next, Lucy goes back to the nature man’s old place and WOW, he just happens to be there!  What a coinky-dink!  Luckily for the happy ending, he turns out to be a tool!  I’m twitchy about the get-back-at-an-affair-with-an-affair thing.  For one, I think it’s childish.  Wahhh, he cheated on me!  Time to let someone in my pants so we can be “even”!  Yeahhhh, no, and this was the biggest “rich white people with problems” point.  There’s this underlying sense of “well, that’s fair.”  And yes, I can understand that one person’s infidelities are a huge imbalance that can cause lingering, bitter issues.  But the other underlying idea is “Not sure you made the right choices?  Well, it’s okay to test the waters if your marriage is already rocky!”  Lucy literally lives out a brief relationship with the ex, and there are no repercussions for this, either.  It’s a “Some secrets are better left kept” kind of deal, and it rankles more than the imbalance of the affair ever could for me.

My final gripe is Lucy the Librarian.  We don’t get a lot of Lucy the Librarian, because she already hasn’t been a librarian for a long time when the book begins, but, as Library Journal says in its review, “Librarians will find their portrayal only slightly more flattering than [“Lucy’s intensely shallow mother”].”  While I make allowances for Lucy’s technophobia, and even her pop culture gaps, but there were a few common things that she didn’t know, questions she asked that were ridiculous.  Even in 2000, librarians were supposed to be on the cutting edge of technology, and of course that’s even moreso now.  But Lucy’s clueless.  Her husband encourages her to go back to the library when she’s failed at coming up with a sequel to “her” video game, and she thinks this is out of character, because he said when she was a librarian that the internet would replace libraries in ten years anyway.

SUCK IT, ED.  We’re going strong.

So…yeah.  I don’t know if I’ll ever read this one again.  I’ll leave it up on the shelf for a year if someone on the book community doesn’t want it, but if I don’t care to reread it after a year, it’s gone.

I hear her other book is way better.

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