05 February 2014

Bet Me (Jennifer Crusie)

Been meaning to read Bet Me for years: it's one of Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell's veryvery favorites ("not having read this book is in violation of many international treaties"), and former colleague Bookavore provided the VITAL information that it features a donut makeout scene, which should just be on the cover, right? Somehow, despite that last fact, I didn't figure out it was a farce until the last scene--so I kept thinking "I love this, but I don't buy it" until light dawned. So I'm telling you up front: go into it as farce! Let silly bits slide! Because oh, it is so rewarding.

Min(erva) Dobbs is a zaftig actuary, just dumped by the odious David (srsly, he's the worst)--she's hanging out at a bar with her BFFs, drowning her sorrows and fretting about fitting into her maid of honor's dress at her sister's wedding three weeks hence. Enter Calvin Morrissey, commitment-shy and the hottest thing on four wheels (YES I CAST JENSEN ACKLES IN MY HEAD I'M SORRY IT'S A SICKNESS), who never loses a bet. And David (the WORST) tries to bet him ten grand that he can't sleep with Min in a month. Cal, who is not a horrifying misogynist asshole, refuses outright--but he does wager $10 that he can take her out to dinner that night. They go on the grumpiest first date ever, as Min has no patience with Cal's practiced charm--and she also believes he agreed to David's first (WORST) bet.

Despite their both feeling utterly incompatible, the two find themselves stuck in the same circles, and keep finding themselves on more and more serious dates. She's got massive body image issues courtesy of her awful mother, and he's all "Whatevs, you're hot, allow me to hand-feed you carbs." And he's got an awful family too, and she sticks up for him, and AUGH there's just so much else here, there's a cat, and snow globes, and her sister's wedding, and parallel relationships, and Little League, and Cal's terrible ex Cynthie...it's all marvelously plotted, the dialogue is witty, and the way these two people learn to see themselves through each other's accepting eyes is the BEST. Fun but not inconsequential, frothy without being shallow, Bet Me is indeed a romance must-read.

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