therapy through denial

I don't eat chocolate. I don't drink alone. And I clearly couldn't read a self-help book if my life depended on it.

(Well, maybe if my life depended on it. But not if there is a picture of or reference to Dr. Phil.)

When everything goes to crap, I burrow into romance novels.

Sad, eh? Not as sad as getting drunk alone or anything, but still kind of sad.

Such novels allow for escape. They present stories where people go over the top, where grand gestures have to be made, where everyone is a Size 6 and jobs are merely a sidebar character descriptor rather than an all-out definition of who you are.

So, this weekend I got through two. One was good, one was SO bad.

First, the bad: Nina Vida's The End of Marriage. (Yes, even my pursuit of romance is shadowed by cynicism.)

Vida's book is unfortunately riddled with cliched characters (a man still obsessed with Viet Nam, etc.), melodrama and dialogue used to tell the story without any help from character development or scene setting. I love dialogue just as much as the next person -- possibly more -- but I also love when it connects and makes sense. I feel like Vida wanted her book to be a movie, and maybe it would work on the silver screen. I'm fairly certain she was thinking of Jimmy Smits when she drew up her lead male character, and I'm not wholly persuaded one should write a book with its screenplay version in mind.

Now, the good: Cecelia Ahern's Where Rainbows End.

Weepy, funny, weepy. I swallowed this one overnight, staying in bed much of Monday to read and read and read. I got lost in the love story of two best friends, even though Ahern chose to draw it out entirely in letters, e-mails and text messages. The history of technology can't possibly match the history of their friendship/love affair. And I generally believe telling a whole story in correspondence is cheap.

But if you need a break from reality, I'd suggest escaping with Ahern....

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