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Rereading Jenny: Getting Rid of Bradley

January 5, 2014

[Spotlight posts may contain spoilers]

I forgot how much of a huge difference there is between Kate and Lucy, the heroine of Getting Rid of Bradley, Jennifer Crusie’s third book.  People talk a lot about “the Crusie heroine,” as if she wrote only one kind of lead, but I feel there are really two: the driven chick and the doormat.  The driven chicks need to figure out how to fit romance into their lives; the doormats need to learn to be assert enough to take happiness when they find it.

Lucy is definitely a doormat.

It’s difficult to watch her get steamrolled by her obnoxious sister, who replaces the great best friends from before, and the male lead, Zach, comes off like a whiny manchild in his first scene.  The reader gets that he’s freaking out, but it’s off-putting.  It took me a little while longer to warm up to Zach, but Lucy is the sticking point, because she’s utterly dumb for about a hundred pages.  She’s supposed to be the logical one, but she does not listen to logic at all, or even err on the side of caution.  It drove me nuts.

It did make me like Zach more though, because he gets protective fast for a reason.  We’re told by her sister that Lucy’s really smart; I just wish we’d seen it MORE.  Like, none of her thought processes are explained enough for me to feel like she’s making sense.  She’s science-smart, she says, but not…I forget the quote.  Common sense smart, people smart, or real life smart.  Fine, I agree with those.  But SOME sense of self-preservation would’ve been nice.

And I could really live without oral sex being this major deal, but honestly?  For romance novels, for a long time, it WAS, and I think Crusie was really one of the people pushing that.

This is also not as breezy as the first book..  There’s some danger involved, so that has something to do with it.  There’s also quite a bit of repetition.  But mostly I think it’s just a denser book than I was expecting.  It doesn’t push along as fast.

This is not to say I didn’t enjoy it.  I really did.  I like the mystery aspect, the romance, the dogs–oh god, the dog joke is still funny every single time.  I enjoyed it a LOT.  But I truly hate doormats, although in 1994 they weren’t as prevalent as they are now.  Thank God.  Bridget Jones hadn’t ruined everything yet.

I feel like Lucy is a prototype for Quinn in the much scarier, darker Crazy for You.  I guess we’ll find out when we get there.

Oh, also I should probably start listing common themes/tropes/whatever:

“fancy underwear” (Sizzle and Manhunting)

dogs (starts here)

sex while other people are nearby (Sizzle)

women having orgasms from oral sex and the guy acting like that’s an act in and of itself, which I’d NEVER READ before Crusie in ANY romance (Sizzle?)

Next up: Strange Bedpersons.  I really did put the book exactly in publication order on my shelves.  Heh.  I don’t do that with every author.  Just for series and authors who matter.

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