Catching Kelly
by Sue Civil-Brown, contemporary (2000)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-80061-6

If I do catch up with Kelly, she better wish I don't have my rolling pin with me. Egads, there is a saying that too many cooks spoil the soup (or something). A kooky granny, a plague of aunts and uncles, two tigers, an animal activist, kooky household staff, cross-dressers... is that many enough? If Catching Kelly is a soup, it's not only burnt, it's tasteless. No spice, no flavor, nadda.

Our heroine Ally, er, Kelly has a Sad Story. Surrounded by love and talented relatives, our Sad Lil' Bo Peep feels so low in self-esteem and hence moves away from her family to live normally. She never visits them, and when an uncle compliments her for the wonderful websites she designs for a living, she remembers how pathetic she is at art and goes boo-hoo. Altogether now: Awww. My foot.

She has a bland boyfriend, she has no life. She's everything I dislike in a contemporary heroine. Kelly, have you finished this month's Elle yet? Don't forget the Compatibility Test on page 45 and Are You Arousing Your Boyfriend Enough? pop-quiz on page 98. Have your copy of The Rules arrived yet? You know you can't get a date without psychoanalyzing everything to death.

When she catches wind of a hunk moving in on her granny, her insecure, neurotic, and perverted instincts screams Gigolo! (nobody have orgasms when Kelly isn't having any!) She packs her back and moves back to good ol' Florida - sadly, of course. Only she realizes the hunk isn't Granny's gigolo, but an ex-football player named Seth Ralston still smarting from his abruptly-ended career and subsequent divorce and loss of custody of his kids.

Poor Seth. Kelly is whiny and bad enough. The whole Burke clan is worse. I have never read a more meddling, aggravating, noisy, chaotic, and monstrous lot. These people not only have no conception of personal space, they matchmake Seth with Kelly gleefully. And I thought they say they love Seth.

Seth and Kelly have no time alone, believe me. Every page there's an intrusive, meddling, irritatingly over-the-top mad relative/dog/tiger/senior citizen/panda (okay, no panda), that after a while I feel the two fall in love out of exhaustion. Who wouldn't after all the intrusion of personal space?

Poor Seth. He better take up meditation lessons. After a year with the Burke clan, I doubt anyone could keep his sanity intact. It's either the madhouse or the courthouse (for homicide).

And when I think things can't get any more irritating, louder, or more cluttered, in come Seth's kids, never a more rowdy, irritating bunch this side of the Olsen twins.

And yes, that's me, screaming at the top of my voice as I jump off the window ledge.

Rating: 38

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