Monday, August 31, 2009

Review - Bet Me

Title: Bet Me
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Publishing Date: 2004
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot

Minerva Dobb's boyfriend David has just broken up with her in a trendy local bar. The thing is Min is not really upset about it other than the fact that now she won't have a date to her sister's wedding. Min's two best friends Bonnie and Liza insist that Min needs a real man and scope out the bar for a potential candidate. Liza zeroes in on Cal Morrisey, a handsome man who exudes testosterone. Min usually avoids these type of men, but with Liza's insistence she heads over to him. When she gets close enough she overhears David making a bet with Cal that he can't get Min into bed in a month. Min leaves when she thinks she hears Cal accept the bet. Only Cal accepts the bet to get her to leave the bar with him, not sleep with her. What ensues is a humorous romantic case study of human behavior.

This is my second time reading Bet Me and I believe I enjoyed it more the second time than I did the first. The dialogue is outstanding. It's fast and snappy, clever and honest. Not just between Min and Cal but between Min and her friends and Cal and his friends. Also, Cal and Min's families have a large share of interaction as well. All of this leads to wonderful character development. Here is an example from a short passage between Min and her girlfriends:

"He wasn't the one," Bonnie said from below Min's shoulder, her hands on her tiny hips.

"Diet rum too," Min told the bartender, who smiled at her and went to get her drink.

Liza frowned. "Why were you dating him anyway?"

"Because I thought he might be the one," Min said, exasperated. "He was intelligent and successful and very nice at first. He seemed like a sensible choice. And then all of sudden he went snotty on me."

Bonnie patted Min's arm. "It's a good thing he broke up with you because now you're free for when the right man finds you. Your prince is on his way."

"Right," Min said. "I'm sure he was on his way but a truck hit him."

"That's not how it works." Bonnie leaned on the bar, looking like an R-rated pixie. "If it's meant to be, he'll make it. No matter how many things go wrong, he'll come to you and you'll be together forever."

"What is this?" Liza said, looking at her in disbelief. "Barbie's Field of Dreams?"

That's sweet, Bonnie," Min said. "But as far as I'm concerned, the last good man died when Elvis went."

"Maybe we should rethink keeping Bon as our broker," Liza said to Min. "We could be major stockholders in the Magic Kingdom by now."

Min tapped her fingers on the bar, trying to vent some tension. "I should have known David was a mistake when I couldn't bring myself to sleep with him. We were on our third date, and the waiter brought the dessert menu, and David said, 'No, thank you, we're on a diet,' and of course, he isn't because there's not an ounce of fat on him, and I thought, 'I'm not taking off my clothes with you' and I paid my half of the check and went home early. And after that, whenever he made his move, I thought of the waiter and crossed my legs."

Even though Min is such a cynic when it comes to finding love, as you can see from the above excerpt, her and Cal's story is a very romantic one. It is romantic without being sappy. Both of them have their issues. Meg has a chip on her shoulder about her size since she is a healthy woman and not a stick figure. Cal's friends refer to him as a serial dater, since he can't seem to commit. But in spite of all their flaws they realize that they will love each other regardless. Reading about them as they work through their differences is truly a treat. Theirs is a relationship that you know will last long after the last chapter is read.

This book was part of Nath's Re-Read Challenge 2009. You can read the other partipants' reviews here.

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format at Amazon.


Lori said...

Darn. Every time I see a JC review, I wish I liked her books more. Everyone loves her so much. I don't know why, but she's just one that doesn't do it for me. Strange, no?

Kaetrin said...

This one is my all time favourite Crusie. Snappy, funny and romantic, it's Crusie at her finest I think. Thanks for reminding me about it!

Maija P. said...

I haven't read her books, but will give her a try in the future. Thanks for a great review!

nath said...

When I read this book, I've just finished glomming on her books and thought this one was okay (although everyone seems to adore it). Perhaps I should go back and read it, hmmm :)

Good review, Jill, and I'm glad you enjoyed it even more :)

Patti said...

I've not read anything by this author yet but maybe I will try this one first, it sounds good.

Kate said...

The first time I read this book I really liked it, and the second (and every time since then) I've pretty much adored it. There's a lot of quirky honesty in it, and the dialogue and character interactions were fantastic. Not only do I enjoy watching Min and Cal fall in love, I enjoy seeing every single character develop into old friends.

Jill D. said...

Lori - Actually, I came across another reader who didn't like Bet Me. She thought Min was to angry and couldn't get into the tone of the book. I can see that. Hey, we all can't like the same thing. That would be wierd!

Kaetrin - You know, I think it might be my favorite too. I haven't read all of Crusie's books, though. I feel a glom coming on :)

Maija and Patti - I hope you do give them a try. I suggest starting with this one. I hope you enjoy it!

Nath - Yep, I am thinking of glomming the rest of her books. I have only read a few of them. Although, not all at once so I don't burn out.

Kate - Yes, yes and yes!! I love all the interaction between the characters. It is what makes this book so fabulous. I am also surprised that after reading it a second time, I found that I liked it even better.

Tracy said...

OMG I forgot about the "we're on a diet" comment. I just love Crusie and now you've made me want to re-read her books! Good review! :)

Christine said...

Hi Jill,
I just read my first Crusie novel recently... Anyone But You. I thought it was adorable and would definitely read more of this author's work. So many romance readers name Bet Me as a favorite and at one time it was on my list of books to eventually read, but I forgot about it. Reading your review not only reminded me about it... but convinced me to do it asap, too! Thanks for the wonderful review.

Jill D. said...

Christine - I am sooooooo glad you enjoyed it. I am flattered I could help out :) I can't remember if I have read Anyone But You. Is this the book where the heroine's exboyfriend is a coach and he turns into a stalker and the hero is a mechanic? If it is I really liked that story. I wish Crusie would publish more. I am not even sure when her next book comes out.

Christine said...

Anyone But You is about a 40 year old divorcee who after 15 years of marriage as a trophy wife of sorts is finally out on her own. The love interest is her 30 year old neighbor downstairs who is an ER doctor. There's an assortment of issues going on that made for a funny yet serious, realistic romance.

Holly said...

Gah! You've made me want to do a re-read of this. I adore the dialogue in all Crusie novels, but this one is probably her best.