Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
August 31 2004
Mass Market Paperback
St. Martin’s Press
Yummy Man – Calvin Morrisey
Kick Ass Chick – Minerva Dobbs
From Goodreads –
Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes, and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they’re dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all-true love.
This book comes from a Goodreads list too. Last year (yes, again with last year) I discovered contemporary romance novels. I found they were a great way to break up the vampires I was reading – because back then I was still all about vampires and demons…and not much else. After reading my first contemporary book, I wanted more. So I went to amazing Goodreads and found a list of Best Ever Contemporary Romance Books. Actually, I found several lists, but that’s the one I looked at most. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie was number one (at the time. Now it’s been dethroned by The Notebook. Seriously. I’m not kidding.)
I bought it pretty much the same week I found it on the list…then put it in my book closet to wait. I don’t know why I kept talking myself out of reading it. Well that’s a lie. I know why. I read the blurb, and even though it doesn’t say this, I kept thinking this was a book about a man who makes a bet and that the woman doesn’t know about it and it all blows up at the very end. That is actually not completely true. She does know about it so it makes the story that much more fun and less predictable…sort of. Finally, after seeing Dot’s review a little while back and after thinking that I’m not sure when I’ll be able to read another contemporary romance, I took it out of my book closet and sat down to read it. I read it in one day. That is an incredible feat for me. Now it was a Sunday and Jason was really great to take the kids to the store for a while to give me some ‘mommy’ time and I stayed up waaaaay too late… But even with that, one day is big for me.
Reading that then looking at my rating, you must be thinking that I made a mistake – that I must have put the image of the four little books instead of five by accident. Alas, it is not a mistake. Even though I read this book speedy quick and couldn’t stop thinking about it when I had to put it down for a bit, there were quite a few things that rubbed me the wrong way in it. Let’s start with those.
David is Min’s ex. At the very beginning of the book, he breaks it off with her. In that same scene, he makes the bet with Cal claiming that he couldn’t get Min into bed within four weeks. Then there is Cal’s ex, Cynthie. After seeing Cal (the notorious ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em man) for nine months, she asks him when they are going to get married. Cal never wants to marry really so he breaks it off. Cynthie is convinced that he just needs time and is certain that he will come back to her sooner rather than later. At first Cynthie was the more annoying of the two exes. She’s a psychologist who has analyzed the heck out of her situation and out of Cal and has enlisted David to help her keep Min away from the man she loves. But eventually, David ends up being the dumb-ass and ends up winning the ‘most annoying’ crown. I wish their role was played down a bit because sometimes, they were a bit much.
I also didn’t love Min’s mother. I understand that she is written as ‘the annoying mother’ character, but she is just a tad too annoying for me. Really. Min is a little rounder of a girl and her mother is obsessed with size. Too much so. Again, I wish her role was cut back a little because she was a bit much.
Finally, there is quite a reunion of sorts near the end of the book and there is a wedding scene that gets a little messy. Both of these scenes felt a little too messy. A little over the top. But I will say that Jennifer writes these scenes in a way where you can totally picture what is happening. And even though they are a bit on the ‘much’ side, you can’t help but giggle. They are very visual scenes.
Now let’s talk about what I loved. Because what I loved trumps everything I didn’t like big time. I loved the humor in this book. I found myself laughing out loud many many…many times while reading this.
I loved the friends in this book. Bonnie, Lexi, Roger and Tony. The chemistry between these friends was amazingly written. I wanted to hang out with these people! And the dialogue was great. Just great. I even enjoyed Cal’s young nephew Harry (his obsession with Min’s shoes was a cute touch) and Min’s sister Diana. Emilio was awesome too.
But my favorite characters by far were Cal and Min. They were so well written and perfect together. They just blew me away. They were the reason I couldn’t put the book down. I may have rolled my eyes at a few things in this book, but Cal and Min were gold. Funny, smart, witty, sexy as hell and overall exactly what I want in a contemporary romance couple.
The last chapter of Bet Me is an epilogue really, letting us know what happens to all the important characters after the main story ended. I loved that idea. Because while we read, we get to know the characters on the page and we can’t help but wonder what happens to them fifteen or even twenty years down road. Sometimes it’s fun to use your imagination and come up with your own ideas but sometimes it’s nice to just be told. It’s nice to know for sure that the characters really did live happily ever after. I was grateful for it in this book.
Overall, even though there were a few moderate issues with this book, I still really really really enjoyed it. Fans of contemporary romance should read it just to meet Cal and Min and their circle of friends. But mostly Cal and Min. They were perfect.
Giggle worthy quotes
“’Your bread is the greatest, Emilio, but the chicken is a work of art.’ Then she kissed him on the other cheek.
‘Hey,’ Cal said. ‘I’m right here. I paid for the chicken.’
‘Don’t beg,’ Min told him and went out the door.
‘Morrisey, I think you just met your match,’ Emilio said.
‘Not even close,’ Cal said, grateful to be without her for a moment. ‘This was our first, last, and only date.’
‘Nope,’ Emilio said. ‘I saw the way you looked at each other.’
‘That was fear and loathing,’ Cal said, opening the door.
‘God, you’re dumb,’
“You want to be philosophic about the future now?” Cal said. “I’m not even sure where I left my pants.”