Project Date
by Kate Perry, contemporary (2007)
Zebra, $4.99, ISBN 0-06-077500-9

No, Kate Perry is not that young lady who is running around on MTV announcing that she got drunk at a party and kissed a girl. At least, I don't think so. Hmm. Anyway, Project Date is the first book of hers that I've read and I have to say, this is actually a more romantic chick-lit story than a typical contemporary romance. It is structured like a chick-lit story from the first person narration to the fact that the romance between the heroine and her designated Mr Right doesn't really begin until much later in the story. The heroine is so self-absorbed and "on" that you may require a high degree of tolerance for this kind of characters if you want to finish reading this book with your sanity intact.

Philomena "Mena" Donovan resents her sister Daphne for being the perfect older sister favored by their parents, therefore when she has the opportunity to one-up Daphne, she seizes it with both hands and milk that thing dry. You see, her parents are unhappy that Daphne doesn't have the perfect boyfriend like Mena apparently does. At the upcoming family gathering, the plan is for Mena to bring Barry Wallace III and show Daphne what she is missing in life.

The problem is, Mena had dumped Barry shortly before her mother contacted her about the plan. Barry has found a girlfriend, one that is perfect for him. That's no problem where Mena is concerned - she'll break up those two, get Barry to propose to her at the family gathering, and then dump Barry again shortly after the gathering.

If you are still with me after that last sentence, you may just like this book, heh, because this is pretty much Mena's behavioral pattern throughout the whole story. It's all about her. Even the idea of falling in love, to Mena, is her soulmate doing good things for her. It never enters her head that it takes two to make a relationship work. No, the world stops and turns for Mena and she will behave like a spoiled young girl in the process. Mena doesn't experience any credible character development here and she doesn't have to grow up much since everything is handed to her in the end on a silver platter. I have this suspicion that Ms Perry wants me to find Mena cute and adorable. Yucks.

The funniest guy in the story is Jeremy Litton, Mena's ex from long ago who gives such delicious put-downs to Mena. Why isn't he the star of this story?

Project Date is best read by fans of chick-lit stories, because I suspect that their tolerance for supremely self-absorbed and clueless heroines like Mena is much higher than mine. The only way I could finish this book is by putting it down every ten pages to picture in my mind all kinds of lovely ways to torture Mena in return for the pain she has inflicted on my psyche.

Rating: 50

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