A Prince Of A Guy
by Sheila Rabe, contemporary (2001)
Berkley, $6.99, ISBN 0-425-18098-0

In the prologue, radio talk-show/agony aunt Kate Stonewell gives the following advice:

(a) Take off the blinders from your eyes where your men are concerned,

(b) You should not expect a man to change after marriage - he won't,

(c) If he represents everything you stand against, and he shows no sign of changing now, cancel the wedding cake and go look for better guys elsewhere, and

(d) Compromise with him if you want a relationship to work.

In a bad romance, Kate will break all the above actually rational rules - doncha know, shrinks are just plain twisted inside - and end up "romantic" and "redeemed", ie becomes a complete weirdo by the end. Apparently if you don't put the man on a pedestal, you aren't romantic and don't deserve love. And A Prince Of A Guy is just one such book.

Not that Kate Stonewall is a catch. She's caustic, she's irrationally against men's sports because her late husband was a sports freak, and she mothers her eldest son Robbie to the point that I'm sure Robbie will be the new Norman Bates one day. I'm talking about a mother desperately trying to prevent her son from playing any sports by wanting to enrol him in drama class instead. One day, maybe he'll guest star on his mother's talk show.

Still, her colleague and now new neighbor Jeff Hardin, host of popular sports radio show Jock Talk will meddle with her life and stop Robbie from being a psycho that will stab women in the showers one day. He doesn't like Kate at all, because she's annoying. See, Kate has the nerve to tell him to shut the heck up when his housewarming party - he and some scantily clad babe young enough to be his daughter (or at least a niece) and the radio on overdrive - gets wee too loud. What a poopy spoilsport, huh? And when he spies on her from his window using a pair of binoculars, she has the nerve to screech about privacy and plant a tree to obstruct his view! What. A. Jerk. Bitch. Neighbor. "Bitch," he actually calls her that.

But since he has an alcoholic ex-wife, you know, awwww. So sad, so sad. Kate is so wrong about him. So what if he has friends set to spy on Kate, to tell him at once if she has any guy in her life? Sociopathic stalking is so that ex-wife's fault. And so what if Jeff is the one to bring up their personal squabbles to the workplace and worse, to every one of Kate's listeners? He teaches Robbie baseball, man. What a prince of a guy, dude! So what if everything he says humiliates Kate? Dude, he says some pretty things by the last chapter - all is okay now! Woo-hoo!

In the end, Kate apologizes to Jeff for misjudging him. Just how did she misjudge him anyway? I don't know. She just apologizes. But then again, if I feel insulted at the end of the day, what do I expect from a book that drops the names Rush Limbaugh and Dr Laura Schlessinger as primo big-time radio talk show hosts Kate is glad to have her show aired side by side with?

Rating: 34

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