Monday, January 7, 2013

Charmed My Pants Right Off, but NOT Your Mother's Romance Novel

Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers, #1)Seduction and Snacks by Tara Sivec

OK, I admit it... I fought against this book at first. I heard mixed reviews, but a 'book enabler' I have found to trust promised me that it would be hot, funny, and a good read. Maybe I was being vindictive... but I almost wanted to be one of the readers that wasn't so jazzed. Especially with that beginning... oh, my, Claire is one abrasive personality. Like using sandpaper to wipe a baby's bottom. Despite all this, the book won me over.  (And really, mixing chocolate and sex in a book, with a kid... turned out to be a great recipe!)

Like I said, Claire is one challenging dame to love and root for. Potty mouth, potty brain, just the way everything is laid out with the, 'I hate kids' bit at the beginning. I was truly worried at first. I was like, "Oh, no. What did I get talked into buying and reading? And I was promised funny... wieners, vagina, and nuts spewed all over pages is NOT funny." All my doubts, my fears, my reservations, my aloof not-going-to-laugh attitude was actually broken down by the book fairly quickly. Why? I think it was when I realized that somehow Tara Sivec had performed a Vulcan mind-meld with me and based Clare on a prettier and wittier version of me (well, not literally, as I've never met or spoke with Tara Sivec.) All that abrasiveness that I fought against (yeah, pot calling the kettle black) it was so like me and I didn't even see it at first. Hating kids 'in general' and never wanting to have them, that's me. Being one of the first of my friends to get pregnant, that's me. Hell, I can even quote nearly the entire movie Heathers. ("Corn Nuts") Once I accepted the fact that, hey, I'm just like Claire (except I don't smell like chocolate, and I can't bake, and I'm not thin like she) then everything 'clicked.' The book was funny instead of flat, I bust out laughing so many times my oldest son was looking at me like I'd just turned blue or something.

Now on to the story line. You do have to keep in mind, like with movies, to suspend your 'disbelief'. There are unlikely events, almost a romantic slapstick comedy of errs that make up this book. Again, the beginning, I resisted tooth and nail. It does use some slightly overdone literary archetypes.... the college virgin, the 'sappy' male, the crazy foul mouthed best friend... there are aspects of different characters and the plot that seem very familiar. However, there's just the right amount of absurdity mixed with sarcasm... basically once I realized how 'true-to-life' some of the characters and events could be, I was able to accept the more outlandish elements of the story better.

Now, I've mentioned this before, but I think in this particular case it bears going over again. Many people have issues with the 'potty mouth' of the book. There are words thrown around... enema, wieners, nipples, penis, vagina, vomit, dildo, poop... you get the idea, right? The dialogue and the inner monologues and such are crass in language. And it may seem, especially to those that are NOT parents that the 4 year old has a horrid, filthy mouth; and what kind of parents talk like that and let their kid talk like that... to unseasoned eyes, this book may just seem immature and stupid with verbal diarrhea. But from this parent (and yet another reason why I think Tara Sivec channeled me when writing for Claire) it was like reading about the more comedic moments in my life. Yes, my 4 year old has a potty mouth, we're working on it. And if you think there is no way a 4 year old and/or parents could possibly deal with or say some of the things this book does... I'll invite you over to my house to tell you stories about my 4 year old and his fascination with 'boobs', his discussion with his preschool about "Boys having a penis, and girls having a vagina, and does your Mom have a vagina, too?" I kid you not. My son is fascinated with his penis and nuts, about what it does and how it changes, and about why mine "broke off." It's uncanny how this book ended up being SO true to life (for me) and once it did I could not stop myself from giggling and being charmed despite my initial stubbornness.

So ultimately, I loved it. I think it was funny as all get out, and I still wonder if the author has some sort of weird telepathy into my brain. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series, and would highly recommend it to anyone that loves romantic comedy that includes both 'high' and 'low' comedy. Be sure you are willing to accept the 'low' comedy, just like there are some out there that don't like chocolate (or so I'm told, how horrid must that be?) there are many that will not like the humor. It's like mixing those bad-mouthed cartoons that I never want my kids to watch (but half the time they end up seeing anyway) with a Meg Ryan romantic comedy. If you loved the movie Heathers, you should fit right in and be happy as a clam. On the other side of the coin, if sarcastic, base humor leaves you cold and you prefer a more cut-and-dry romance, then just don't bother with this book. You will hate it. I sucked it down in one day, practically one sitting. So... go forth and laugh your booty off if you are game to try it.

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