Saturday, March 7, 2009
Bathtub Book Reviews, Volume 1
Last summer, while I was checking out agents and deciding who to send my queries to, I came across a new author named Eileen Cook. I read an excerpt from her book, Unpredictable, and loved it. I knew I needed to buy it.
But then, as usual, I got obsessed with something new (probably drawing, or cow tipping or something) and forgot all about it. In early February, I suddenly remembered there were a few books I'd been wanting to buy. I remembered the excerpt really well, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't remember the name of the book, or the author.
In my own stupidity, I just figured I'd drive on down to Hastings and find the book. I knew I'd recognize the cover if I saw it, since I rarely forget the covers of books. But when I got to Hastings, I realized how naive I was. With so many books to look through (would it be in romance or novels?), there was no way I'd find it if I didn't know the name or the author.
I came home and spent the next hour or two (it could have been longer really since I tend to lose track of time while I'm on the internet) searching for the excerpt from this book. Perhaps if I hadn't replaced my laptop not once, but twice, since finding this book my search would have been easier. I tend to randomly bookmark sites when I think they might come in handy in the future. But seeing as I was on a new computer, with no bookmarks to speak of, I resorted to yahoo searching.
I typed in keywords that I remembered from the excerpt. I spent so long going through pages and pages of sites, until FINALLY I found it! It was Unpredictable by Eileen Cook. I was so excited. I called Hastings to make sure they had it, and was very disappointed to find out they didn't. So off to Barnes and Noble I went. After searching there for awhile, I braved the line at customer service (Ok, I didn't really. I sent Wren to brave it for me while I looked at other books. Isn't that what boyfriends are for?) and found out they didn't have it in stock either. Of course they offered to order it for me but I was so upset I told them no and walked away, shoulders down. It was very depressing for me to find that this fairly new book, by a new unknown author was already off of their shelves while they had 8 copies of books like How To Make Anyone Fall in Love With You. As an aspiring author myself, it was quite a blow. I mean, I read that excerpt. It was soooo funny and showed such promise. It was clear to me that Eileen Cook is a better writer than I am. What chance does that give me to become a well-known author?
Despite this, I was determined to read this book. Since I don't have any credit cards, I had to get money over to my friend Dawn and have her order it for me from Amazon. It finally came in the mail this week and me, being the speed reader that I am, read it in one day.
So was it worth it all? Well, of course it was. As I said, Eileen Cook has this flair for comedy in her writing that had me giggling. At first, I was constantly making Wren pause his movie so I could read him sentences like "February is the worst month in Vancouver, nothing but nonstop rain, the kind of rain that makes you start thinking about taking up ark-building as a hobby just in case." Or at one point, I made him pause his movie while I read him this whole paragraph:
"Do you have a reservation?" the hostess asks. I can't think of what to say because I'm too busy focusing on how impossibly thin she is. If I held my book behind her back there's a good chance I could read the text right through her. My wrists are larger than her thighs. No adult person can be this small. She must be violating some kind of child-labor laws or else she's some kind of fashion pygmy. I'm surprised she could get a job at a restaurant; she's a walking ad for famine relief. It looks to me like she hasn't even been in the same room as food for a considerable period of time. I suppress the urge to offer to sponsor her.
How can you not love a book that makes you laugh? It got to the point where Wren would hear me giggle and he'd say "What are you giggling about now?" and wait in anticipation.
Ok, I'm not here to completely rave about the book. I do have to admit that Unpredictable was a bit.....well.....predictable. Sometimes I think romance books are getting that way, though. Despite the fact that I knew early on how it would end, I still enjoyed the journey to get there. I know Eileen Cook is writing YA novels now but I hope she ventures back into the adult arena soon. I'd love to see what she comes up with next.