16 April 2015

Bet Me

Synopsis 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 keeps 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.

Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback; St. Martin’s Press, 2004

How acquired: Received through Title Trader, of which I used to be a member some eight years ago

First line: Once upon a time, Minerva Dobbs thought as she stood in the middle of the loud yuppie bar, the world was full of good men.

My thoughts: When you pick up a Jennifer Crusie book you know you’re going to get:

- a relatable and realistically flawed heroine
- a charming hero
- a cast of quirky and eccentric supporting characters
- usually a dog but this time it was a cat
- fast paced slapstick humor right out of a Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell era movie

Min has just been dumped by her boyfriend, David, in the middle of a theme bar. They haven’t had sex yet, and he’s tired of waiting for her to put out. Her biggest concern? Now she doesn't have a date to her sister’s wedding in three weeks, and her mother will go ballistic.

David then runs into Cal Morrissey and tries to bet him ten thousand dollars that Cal can’t get Min into bed within one month. Cal isn’t interested, in Min or in a sleazy bet and tries to ignore David’s goading, but when David bets him ten dollars he can’t even get Min to leave with him, he takes that bet just to get away.

Min overhears part of the conversation about the bet-to-get-her-in-bed but not the bet-to-get-her-to-leave-with-Cal, and when Cal hits on her shortly after, she thinks he’s just bet David ten dollars to get her into bed. She’s pissed, but decides to string him along, go out with him, take him to her sister’s wedding, and then dump him and make him lose the bet.

However, when they part company that night, they are both agreed that not seeing the other person ever again is a sound plan. But of course their paths will cross and recross, especially since Min’s two best friends get mixed up with Cal’s two best friends. Min is not a thin girl, and her mother is constantly nagging her about not eating sweets and losing weight. Mom has crushed her self-esteem, and since she thinks Cal is out to win a bet, Min certainly doesn’t think he’s really attracted to her. Some of the sweetest moments in the book were Cal addressing her weight, which he doesn't see as a problem in any way, shape or form. And my favorite passage was Cal defending Min to her family at dinner:
"Look, I don't mind you grilling me about what I do for a living," Cal said. "Your daughter's brought me home and that has some significance. And I don't mind your wife asking about my personal life for the same reason. But Min is an amazing woman, and so far during this meal, you've either ignored her or hassled her about some dumb dress. For the record, she is not too big for the dress. The dress is too small for her. She's perfect." Cal buttered a roll and passed it over to Min. "Eat."

Cal’s family are just as bad as Min’s, albeit in a different way, and later Min gets her chance to sit at their dinner table and watch them belittle him and then tell them off.

As with all of her books, BET ME was a fun, fast, slightly manic, entertaining read. Fluffy chick lit (Min’s passion for silly high heeled shoes was a little ridiculous, but then I'm more into purses than shoes) with a feel great resolution.

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