Ballantine, $6.99, ISBN 0-345-44113-3
Contemporary Romance, 2002 (Reissue)
A great kudos to Kristin Hannah, who have penned a beloved story that will be relevant to today’s confused Americans. Summer Island will drive Dubya into garbled ebonics, not because of a gaffe but because he will be touched by this lovely paean of Republican-Democrat love that will make the Green members slap their foreheads and go “Duh! Why didn’t I think of this? It’s all Gore’s fault!” It’s also a lovely love letter to Dr Laura Schlessinger. We love you, Laura, despite your nude photos. XXX Kristin.
Nora Bridge, a kinder, lovelier Dr Laura, is a successful radio talk show host and syndicated columnist about love and marriage. Her love advice consists of mushy stuff like: “Let Suki take your love with her, let it be like a light that’s always on the house where she grew up. If she has that strength, she’ll never be too far away.”
I tell you, I am so inspired, I stand up, hug my startled dog, and screech at the top of my voice, “Stand proud, stand strong, voices that care will carry you on!” until they come and lock me up for impersonating that banshee Michael Bolton.
However, Nora has secrets. Naked photos to be exact. Naked photos splashed on tabloids. Oops. The storm descends, and poor, poor Nora – hey, she’s just a woman who never talked to her daughter for eleven years, but she gives homespun advice about love and hearth, just like, you know, some conservative first lady thing, so aww, poor thing.
The daughter in question, Ruby Bridge, so hates her mother for walking out for fame and money (Republican bitch!), and she spends her time raging about her fucked-up stand-up comedy career, her age, her below poverty line lifestyle, and oh, her exes. Rich people are all greedy capitalist pigs. Can we say disenfranchised L-I-B-E-R-A-L? When she is offered a book contract to write a tell-all autobiography about her mother, she decides to go know Mommy better to write a crap book about her. Romance heroines, you know, that’s Ruby!
The placeholder for the vacillating voter is Dean Sloan. He’s rich, a playboy, and one who never mingle with the unwashed masses. But under his Texan Republican facade is a liberal indie party candidate wannabe who wants to also fight for gay rights and all, you know, because his brother is so gay.
Oh, and gay = dying. That’s a fact. I mean, yeah, we respect gay rights, of course, as long as they all die out in the end. We can then all hold hands and sigh mistily, secure that while that sad bugger lived, we have shared love and respect in our utmost condescension. Gay men are a heterosexual woman’s best friends and confidantes, and poster boys for AIDS awareness and all. I mean, gee, gay people actually being happy? Have sex? Survive the epilogue? Excuse me, we’re all PC people – only heterosexuals are happy. Gay people are agendas.
So Nora and Ruby bond, where Ruby learn that while Republican values may be different, it’s much easier on the nerves to mingle with the old money people and live a life of wealth and traditional homespun conservative family values. Although we don’t really go all right wing crackpot-like, no, because we’re all romance readers, we are moderates, yes? Dean embraces his wealth and lifestyle – hey, so poor people are driven and angry, but rich people are bored and angsty, so it’s even. Wonder if Rush Limbaugh will get invited to the wedding.
Oh, and Eric the Gay Agenda dies in the end. It’s a lovely scene, matching the ending scene of that Tom Hanks movie Philadelphia in sheer heterosexual condescension and supremacy. And everyone goes home, happy, at peace with money and angst, in a beautiful summer of corn, mush, and psychobabble that will even make Sally Struthers ill.
I think I need to suck some prunes.