Monday, March 17

Slightly Single - Wendy Markham

Tracey's heart-broken - her gorgeous actor boyfriend, Will, has left New York to spend the summer working on his craft - summer stock, and the opportunity to star in at least one play. As Will demonstrates an on-going lack of regard (Tracey can't call him, he rarely calls her), Tracey reluctantly reevaluates their three year relationship, especially in light of the unconditional support of Buckley, a copy writer she meets by chance and instantly has an affiliation with. For Tracey, whose New York dream hasn't turned out completely the way she expected (a tiny one-bedroom apartment and a dead-end job), Will's leaving is the final straw. She's going to use the summer to make herself over - lose weight, read the classics, and save some money. When Will comes back he's going to want her as much as she wants him.
Published in 2002, the novel is curiously dated - there are no mobile (or cell) phones, videos instead of DVDs, and at one point Tracey muses about how New York "is a prime terrorist target," but the setting isn't specifically set in the past. Tracey's warm and likable, though her poor self-esteem's a little relentless. Her enduring love for Will is inexplicable, but who among us hasn't seen the same thing in a friend's relationship or even - if we're unlucky - our own?
The writing flows easily enough, and the plot (if a little worn) unfolds at a reasonable pace, though there are no surprises - except for the non-ending, which contains no traditional resolution of the plot, but does include a somewhat meta reflection on not flipping to the back of a book to see how it ends.
Slightly Single is an innocuous enough addition to the genre, and would make appropriate holiday reading, but - like so many Red Dress Inc novels - isn't anything spectacular. On the other hand, unlike several recently attempted works of late, I was able to finish it to the (somewhat unsatisfying) end. - Alex

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