by Mary Jane Meier, contemporary (2001)
Onyx, $6.99, ISBN 0-451-40975-2
Catch A Dream is a book that redefines the term "Trial Of Endurance". There is some great stuff towards the last 150 pages, but I have to wade through over two hundred pages of female stupidity to get there. I have no idea what the author is thinking, maybe she's from the school of thought that "The Stupider They Behave, The Funnier They Are". Stupidity works best in outright comedies like Mr Bean, where everyone laughs at the idiot hero. In a romance story, I am supposed to empathize and to root for the main characters. And sorry, I can't empathize with shrill, addlepated heroines. What works in The Three Stooges is a horrifying train wreck in Catch A Dream.
When Meg Delaney is dumped by her boyfriend whom she has been living and waiting hands, teeth, and feet on, she decides to drive off to lands unknown to chill and vent. So our intrepid heroine heads off to Yellowstone Park. If I do remember my disastrous Girl Guide camping days, you always should bring at least a sleeping bag and some warm sweaters for the night. Our heroine obviously wasn't a Girl Guide.
Zack Burkhart finds our heroine in trouble (she's about to fall down a ravine) and takes her in. Meg is clumsy, she trips over tent poles and squashes her impressive breasts at Zack's manly chest. Of course Zack stands up at attention. Meg also has a tendency to lose bits of her clothings, providing free nudie shows for the wildlife.
That's the Meg In Ditzyland Act. Act Two has Meg playing Nanna the Wondernanny to Zack's son. Like all sons and daughters in contemporaries, the lil' boy hasn't spoken since he saw his mommy die in an accident. Yay. There's also a shrewish momma of Zack who actually uses "paleface" to describe inferior Anglo-Saxon nobodies like Meg.
Act Three. Finally, someone is trying to destroy Zack the rancher's livelihood. Who's doing that? The most readable part of the story, but by then I don't really have the energy to give a damn anymore.
For instance, why are the women in this story so badly portrayed? Good gals are idiots (Meg), mothers-in-law are morons (Mrs Darkface), other women are stupid sluts who will happily claw out our heroine's eyes for the hero. Big breasted, beautiful women = evil sluts. Good women = codependent. Zack is a much better character, albeit a stereotypical romantic single daddy rancher character, but let's face it, in the morass of inane, vapid females that populate this story, who cares about the stiffy? I just want my ticket out of here.
Shrill, loud, and thick on the clumsy/ignorant female factor, Catch A Dream has me fearing that I will burst a blood vessel in my head. If it walks up to me, pulls down its pants, bends over, and releases a motherload of hydrogen sulfide gas explosion to my face, Catch A Dream couldn't have insulted me even more than it already did with its vapid overkooky heroine. Maybe next time. It's no sin for a woman to have a brain, you know.
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