St Martin’s Press, $6.50, ISBN 0-312-98282-8
Contemporary Romance, 2002
The only question popping out from me after reading this atrocious book is “What the hell is this?” Or maybe “Can someone get me a new brain? I think mine melted.” Or to be serious, “Is this supposed to be funny?” But really, what the hell is this?
It is one thing to play the “all men are afraid to commit; all women want are wedding rings on their finger” tune. But it is another thing altogether to make the lead characters so despicable and stupid that I want to personally practise my mad bull charge of death kung-fu stance on their pathetic butts. This story has it all: irrational female jealousies, crazy actions done out of misguided guilt and filial piety, and a treatment of infidelity so stupid that I will happily volunteer to be the first to drive my car over, back and front, the bodies of hero Chris “Piss at Me” Adams and Dianna “Damn I’m a Mess” West, again and again until their bodies are nothing more than giant ugly splotches on the road.
Dianna runs a business call Popping the Question, where she trains and helps guys pop the question in the most romantic settings ever. Of course, if you ask me, there’s nothing more romantic than a joint Swiss account filled to bursting and the absence of pre-nup agreements, but then again, we’re not talking about me, more the pity. Chris Adams wants help to propose to his girlfriend Victoria “Yes, I’m Cold, Nasty, Evil, and Vindictive; Isn’t Chris Smart to Want to Marry Me?” Alexander, so he arrives at the store to find Dianna and her Mason-Dixon’ed hysterical hen assistants/female family members trying frantically to help an obese male freak to his feet. Because the obese male freak – fat men are ugly and they deserve to die, while fat women deserve love – tries to get on one knee like the aerodynamics-deficient Dianna “I Not Only Fail Physics, I’m Too Stupid to See That Fatties Shouldn’t Balance Themselves on One Feet and One Knee!” West made him.
Incidentally, to help you get an idea of “humor” in this book, one of the dumb belles in this story weeps because she has betrayed everybody and committed a “sexual transgression” with a Japanese dentist. She begs to be sacked, wails about what a horrible woman she is, and generally acts like Godzilla’s psycho mother. Immediately the other women assumes that the dentist forced himself on her. Dentists, after all, aren’t sexy, and Japanese dentists, I presume, are worse. After much weeping and all, the “sexual transgression” is as sexual as me sticking my thumb up my nostril to dig for booger. Maybe they grow marijuana and add them to their Happy Southern Confederate Apple Pies down the Mason-Dixon crotch line, I don’t know.
Chris is engaged. Immediately Dianna gets jealous, refuses to leave when Chris and Vicky are doing their thing, and generally act like a complete psycho, Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction with scary canned laughter in the background to make the whole scenario ten times more craptacular. Chris immediately has the hots for Dianna, and this scenario persists even when he is close to marrying Vicky. That coward can’t even grow some testicles to break the engagement. Finally, Vicky has had enough and threatens to ruin Dianna, but she loses me when she decides to ruin Dianna and make Chris marry her no matter what. And Chris wonders if he should marry Vicky to make Dianna happy. Hello? Has everybody gone mad?
Of course, Vicky is evil. Vicky is bad. And our adulterers in stupidity win. Cheryl Anne Porter wins. She gets my $6.50, and I think I have to fork out more moolah for therapy. This author’s unfunny jokes and her atrocious overuse of exclamation and question marks to not-too-subtly hit me in the head that she’s making lots of jokes – “See? Three question marks, so that’s three times the funny, so laugh, you fools, laugh, laugh, laugh! Here, eat an exclamation mark, eat another, and a question, eat three more, laugh, laugh, laugh!” – and oh yeah, I really hate Dianna, Victoria, Chris, and all the crazy unfunny sex-but-not-really protoplasmic-IQ morons in this story.
I hate Popping the Question. Really.