by Robin Wells, contemporary (2001)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52427-9
Hildy calls this book the Orgasm Book. It's the title, she says, she keeps thinking of orgasms whenever she looks at it. In fact, she suggests that should they make a sequel of this book, they should use the title Baby, Oh-oh-oh-oh OH OH Baby Baby Baby. She thinks the story is pretty okay, but nothing special though.
I have to agree. My reaction to this story is more Baby. Oh. Baby. than Baby, Oh Baby!. It has a baby as matchmaker device coupled with a heroine so flaky and giddy and a hero so upright and stuffy that I am hard-pressed to take the story seriously. Some stories have characters that are so well-developed that whatever ridiculous plot device they are mired in becomes readable. In B,OB!, Jake Chastaine and Annie Hollister are three cuts short of a full deck when it comes to the character department.
Jake lost his wife recently and he is mad when he realizes that his sperm has been misused by a fertility clinic to impregnate a woman he doesn't even know. He tracks down Annie to a countryside area in Oklahoma, and it's love. Really? Jake thinks he can't love again, not after his wife..., oh God, it's that same baggage again. And Annie, who hears her dead Grandfather's voice emanating through billboards - let's not go there. I'm with the hero on this one: if I am he, I would come to the same conclusion that this woman is one slice short of being a raving lunatic white loaf.
Both of these two never come to life. Yes, the plot is decent, if one has a taste for underbaked humor and kooky situations Nora Ephron could have written after too many tequilas. Annie is meant to be funny and sympathetic in her Meg-Ryan-gone-bananas act of no friends, no life, only babybabybabybabybaby, but I really think she should stop doing whatever she's doing with her tea leaves. (Are they really tea leaves?)
But more irritating is the way Jake veers from being obsessed with not forgetting his late wife to realizing that hey, that dead broad isn't much fun anyway. Excuse me? On behalf of dead women who can't defend themselves, I feel insulted. Can't a man love more than once? Watch out, Annie - when you die from sugar overdose and he marries another, you will be relegated to the storehouses of his memory as "that witch who wouldn't let me paint my den pink (or something)". It's all in the karma, like Buddha always say.
The final sitting on the other woman and releasing gas on her face - a dead one to boot! - just to make way for our heroine seals it for me: this book is just average if it has to rely on a mediocre device like this. Let the heroine shine on her own, not at the expense of a fellow sister. I would understand if this book is written by a man bitter over a recent divorce - all woman are money-grubbing b***hes who just want your alimony, unlike Annie who just wants babybabybabybaby and will probably starve, alimonyless, as long as she gets baby (every divorced man's wet dream), et cetera. What's Robin Wells' excuse?
There is a more interesting secondary romance, or rather, reromance between Jake's father and his wife. It isn't anything special, as it is another case of women making excuses for their men ad nauseum, but compared to RoboJake and Marijuana Annie, that one is one for the Annals of Romantic Legends.
Baby, Oh Baby! isn't an orgasmic experience. It's barely okay, nothing earthshatteringly bad but its flaws also prevents it from being anything to get excited over either.
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