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Is a Seymour Butts There?

Erin reviews Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis and reminds people that stalking shouldn't pay.

Is a Seymour Butts There?

BOOK REPORT for Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis

Cover Story: Almost There
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Straight Up With a Funky Jive
Bonus Factor: You've Got Mail
Anti-Bonus Factor: The Patty Chase Award
Relationship Status: Put Down Your Boombox

Cover Story: Almost There

We were so close.  So close.  But the kissing silhouettes?  WHY YOU GOTTA PLAY ME LIKE THAT, BOOK?  We could have had it allllll, your font I would keeeep, you had my interest at first, but you slayed it, you slayed it, you slayed it by looking cheap.

The Deal: 

Vinnie has not had the best year.  His parents have just decided to get divorced when his mom starts dating his gym teacher and then up and marries him and moves Vinnie to Queens.  The only upside to the new arrangement is his cute neighbor - the nice, if aloof and uber-popular, Patsy.  But when Vinnie  works up the courage to finally call her, he totally blows it and ends up making an obscene phone call instead.  I can't tell you how many times that has happened to me.

But Vinnie does the unthinkable - he keeps calling.  Soon, Vinnie has a bit of a midnight romance with Patsy, never revealing his name but speaking openly about his dreams and fears.  But will Vinnie ever have the courage to expose himself to Patsy?  Emotionally, I mean.  Not, like, with his penis.

BFF Charm: Meh

Vinnie's got a bit of the ol' Lloyd Dobbler about him, and I think we all know how I feel about him.  I'm sorry, folks; I just don't think persistance is very sexy.  Call me crazy, but I'd prefer that men wooing me have the same emotional absense as does my father.

But, beyond Vinnie's inability to get my knickers aflame, he also just errs a bit too much on the petulant side to be a pal.  I mean, he totally has a crappy life and his mother's a real piece of work, but I just wish he would have climbed a  stepladder and got over himself, you know?

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Blah.  Technically there were some pretty nice aspects of Vinnie and Patsy's relationship - they were pretty open and honest with each other (as open and honest as two people can be when one refuses to reveal his identity) and they definitely really connected.  But, man!  For a relationship that started with an obscene phone call, couldn't they have treated us with a little phone sex or something?  LAME.

Talky Talk: Straight Up With A Funky Jive

This book is set in the 70s, which is an era I was never alive for (by all of four months), but which I imagine was peopled with ugly people doing ugly things.  Couloumbis manages to root the book in that 70s vibe without making the reader cringe by using terribly awkward pop culture phrases.

Bonus Factor: You've Got Mail

There's definitely an element of You've Got Mail in this novel, and Patsy even says a variation of "I hoped it would be you" to Vinnie - although NOT in Central Park while an adorable doggy ran around her in circles.  Don't cry, Shop Girl!

Anti-Bonus Factor: The Patty Chase Award 

UGH, Vinnie's mom is the WORST.  She basically divorces Vinnie's father because he takes care of the house and cooks all the meals while she works a boring Wall Street job and OH MY GOD DO YOU KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO FOR THAT KIND OF LIFE?  I get that she's feeling unfulfilled at her office job, but the fact that Vinnie's mom is a terrible cook and cleaner means that she should, you know, relish her perfect arrangement.  Because, like, the rest of the career women in that decade had to go to their boring office jobs all day and THEN come home and do the cooking and cleaning as well.  SUCK IT UP, VINNIE'S MOM.

Casting Call:

David Krumholtz as Vinnie

I know this is weird, but the only person I could picture in this role was David Krumholtz, specifically from his 10 Things I Hate About You days.  Put her in your Spank Bank and move on!

Relationship Status:  Pack Away Your Boombox

Listen, book, it's not that you aren't charming, in your way.  And I already know that legions of fans will love you for the rest of their days.  But I'm just never going to be one of them, okay?  So let's just agree to disagree and move on with our own individual lives.  Please don't follow me to France and try to eat my croissants.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Random House.  I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!).  Not Exactly a Love Story is available in stores now.

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.