Saturday, November 7

Singletini - Amanda Trimble

Victoria Hart loves being part of a foursome of single girls in Chicago - she's been friends with Gwynn, Kimmie and Julia since freshman year at college, and they all agreed to stick to the single life. At least until Gwynnie got engaged to Bryan. Now Vic's life's out of control - she lost the job she never liked but needed, and has somehow become a Wingwoman, helping men pick up for the night, a job so ridiculous she can't tell her friends, much less her parents. She's been roped into assisting Gwynn with a wedding that's rapidly becoming bigger than Texas, a role that somehow also involves spying on Bryan, because his old girlfriend (who his mother loves, unlike the hatred she has for Gwynn) has been hanging around a little too much. And she's falling for one of her clients, which is a huge no-no. All the while this horrible, breathless feeling keeps stealing over her, as Vic finds herself propelled toward change and adulthood.
From the opening lines I knew what I was letting myself in for.
Oh. My. God. What the...?
My heart thumps wildly as I snatch a City Girls magazine off a Lincoln Park newsstand. I clutch the glossy little weekly in horror as my eyes zero in on the headline:
Shitty! It can't be.
Chills prickle down my spine as I rip off my Diesel sunglasses to take a closer look.

And so on. It will, for example, come as no surprise that Vic's cat's named Armani, or that designer names are sprinkled liberally throughout, though there's a merciful near-absence of shoes. The vast majority of the other chick lit memes are present, however, most notably an underdeveloped heroine who's self-centred, shallow and somewhat feckless.
Vic is fired for numerous absences, continually oversleeps and is late, forgets important things and has little regard for her credit card. She also drinks. A lot.
I realise, re-reading this, that I sound like someone's disapproving spinster aunt. Vic is only twenty-four, and responsible maturity hardly descends upon everyone at that age. But I found the reckless, heedless activity uncomfortable to read about, and I like my characters to have a little more depth. Plus despite the fact that the drinking repeatedly gets her in to trouble, she is unable, time after time after time, to remember to slow down, even when she's officially working. Vic does, of course, grow through the course of the novel - and I don't even know why I wrote 'of course,' because not all chick lit heroines do.
Singletini clearly had some mitigating elements because, despite my large pile of library books, stacks and boxes of unread books, and somewhat messy home, I did read it to the end. I suspect, however, that I may be aging out of the genre. - Alex

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