Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie (Audiobook): Review
Andie Miller is finally saying hasta la vista to her ex-husband, lawyer North Archer. It's been 10 years but she's ready to move on and get married. While she's in his office giving him his uncashed alimony cheques back, he offers her a job. If she agrees to get his 2 young wards ready to move out of their house in southern Ohio, he'll pay her $10000. How can she say no?
There's a catch. The kids are a little strange, sure, but the previous nannies insist that the house is haunted. The house does give off a creepy vibe, hidden in the woods as it is, and the housekeeper is all kinds of drunk and weird. Practical Andie is having none of it and sets out to get these kids out of the house. But...
There really are ghosts that Andie can see and one of them talks to her. Is she crazy or is this for real?
The book has great potential: two odd kids, an old house, crazy housekeeper, possible ghosts and a no nonsense babysitter. All good stuff. And all been done before. Maybe This Time is a retelling of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James- my nemesis- who I'm thinking I should give another try just to see if he did this story better.
The story was alright until just after the first seance and then it comes off the rails. If the ghosts are going to be spooky, then they should all be spooky, not explain-y. One ghost kept explaining unnecessary things to Andie. At one point, in an earlier scene, another character finds out a minor detail that the ghost later tells Andie. It wasn't needed and was kinda annoying. Spoiler (highlight): There's a big manifestation near the end that had me thinking, is that it?
There were comical bits that were enjoyable and I don't think there is anything wrong with a funny, friendly ghost and it is possible to do it well. Sophie Kinsella did an excellent job with one in Twenties Girl. The problem is Maybe This Time tries to wear too many hats by being funny, spooky and romantic. It didn't work for me.
That's not to say that Crusie isn't an excellent writer. Her characters are three dimensional and she writes a kick ass heroine. The dialogue is snappy as well. But the plot... the plot... needs a direction.
I try to recommend books to certain groups but I'm finding it hard to do so. I guess if you are a Jennifer Crusie fan, you'll want to add it to your shelf.
About the Audiobook: Narrated by Angela Dawe. PS- Hearing sex scenes read is weird!
Borrowed from library.
Edit: Yeah, I know the url says Maybe Next Time. That's 'cause I'm an idiot.