Zebra, $6.50, ISBN 0-8217-6809-3
Contemporary Romance, 2001
Fly Me to the Moon is like one of those tacky, catty, bitchy, too-much make-up, slutty, coked-up characters on Absolutely Fabulous. It will send readers expecting a typical screwball comedy like Elizabeth Bevarly’s stories into seizures. Women sensitive about their size will want to pound this author into pieces. And stereotypes are what make this world go round. I love Fly Me to the Moon. I love it to pieces. The plot sucks. It has no substance and no depths. But I feared for my heart while I was laughing too hard, and hey, that’s a very good thing.
Sofia Rose Cardinella is the daughter of an Italian mafioso dude. Think of it as The Sopranos not taking itself too seriously. She has had enough of her father matchmaking her with shady, gangster-like guys. After leaving three men at the altar, she decides to find a fake boyfriend and throw Daddy off. In comes Ben Estes, for whom music starts and ends with Frank Sinatra.
Yes, the plot sucks. Think of this story as a chewed, freshly spit bubble gum. Think me stepping on it and you pulling it along the ground. The gum gets thinner and thinner until it finally snaps at one point. That’s this story. It descends into farce soon enough, especially when Daddy Soprano hires a Mario and Luigi duo (read: inept) to do Ben off.
I love the way this story pulls no punches when it comes to stereotypes. Sofia is gorgeous. Ben is gorgeous. Hate them people, for they are beautiful. Debi, Sofia’s er, big-boned sister sighs and digs into another piece of cake. She so wants to die because she is fat. Sofia’s gay best buddy Ricky (every beautiful stick-like heterosexual heroine needs one) steals the scenes he is in with his outrageous remarks about everything and anything catty and bitchy. He is matched only by another character, Kitty, who uses her words like razorblades.
And the love scenes? Not for the faint of heart. They’re not NC-17 explicit, but the bed talk can get raunchy. “Your pussy is lined with lint” is one of the sillier lines here, but the approach is bawdy, even vulgar, and downright fun. And just right with the tone of the story that mentions without blinking an eye everything from swinging to bisexuality at the drop of the coin.
Needless to say, this is not an everyday romance. It makes no apologies for its bawdy, crass nature. It’s more like Sex in the City crossed with Ally McBeal with a healthy helping of recreational drugs. But I find myself laughing and charmed rather than being put off by the whole frank approach to sex. And it is so refreshing to read about a story where the characters are beautiful, unapologetically so, and hey, Sofia wants to get laid? Let’s go! Who cares about all those hang-ups?
I can wish there is more meat to the story. I can wish there is substance, deeper characters, and tighter prose. But when I am having so much fun reading about pantylines, highliners, Charlize Theron, Italian mafia stereotypes, and unapologetic screwball behavior that screams “Don’t take me seriously, just take me!” – well, I’m easy.
Fly Me to the Moon is definitely a first class trip. Take me, baby, take me all the way!