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Rereading Jenny: Sizzle

January 4, 2014

I was sick of feeling pressured by what I was reading, so I decided to pick up books I knew I could knock out quickly and absolutely love.  Plus, it’s been a while for some of them.  So I’m rereading the Jennifer Crusie books in chronological order, starting with the dreaded Sizzle.

Look, I hate being this person, but Sizzle is awful.  I know it, Jenny Crusie knows it, dogs know it.  We just need to get that out of the way to begin with.  It was her first published book, or the first thing she wrote, one of those.  I think the former.  It’s a short work, which is not her forte, and it contains the only actively dislikeable male lead she’s ever written: the aptly-named Richard.  Richard is quite the dick, and I don’t mean in the sack.  (After all, we’re talking about Jenny here, not Jayne Ann Krentz and her giant penis fetish.  That’s JAK, right?)  He’s awful.  He’s boring but pretty, and he doesn’t listen.  Not he’s a bad empathizer, he literally doesn’t listen to what the lead says.  She loves him, but he accidentally pulls her hair when it gets caught on his sleeve, he can’t find the clasp to her bra after she tells him where it is, and other, worse, things.  She speaks and he is so into his own head (…heh) that he doesn’t hear a word.

I remember her trashing him on her blog but I can’t find it for some reason.  But yeah, she hates this book probably because of that.  And maybe because the end is just way too pat.  One little sex experiment and everything is a-okay folks, nothing left to see her, the end.

The female lead, Emily, is pretty good but maybe not as fleshed out as her secretary, Jane, who is a delight and is pretty much adored by all the Goodreads commenters of the book, for good reason.  We get Jane because Crusie makes her easy to get.  Emily should be the same, but it doesn’t…quite…work.

So there’s Jane and there’s the perfume, which is great, and there’s the sex, which I don’t even care about but some people go crazy for (and sets up a long tradition of Crusie heroines who are into almost being discovered), and it’s definitely a big deal because it was published in the very very early 1990s, and there’s a lot of talk about partnership rather than coupleness or submission, which is pretty amazing considering some of the books that were coming out around the same time.  This is perhaps when the big shift started away from domineering men and toward semi-domineering PARTNERS, but I’ll have to examine that more when I get into my Harlequins.

Speaking of which, the next eight books are novels that were published by companies like Harlequin and Mira and Silhouette, which are probably all owned by the same company anyway.  I’m just saying they’re going to fit a certain formula, but I’ve always felt like Crusie subverted the formula here, there, and everywhere.

Next up: Manhunting.


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