Crazy For You

Jennifer Crusie
2000 reissue of 1999 release, Contemporary Romance
St. Martin's Press, $7.50, 323 pages, Amazon ASIN 0312971125

Grade: C
Sensuality: Hot

There are two reviews of this book.

To most romance readers, Jennifer Crusie is a goddess. I sometimes feel that I am in a minority of one in not worshipping at her feet. Yes, she is a wonderful storyteller and has an excellent sense of humor, especially if you like girl talk, but her women characters seem to bond so closely with each other that the relationship between a Crusie heroine and her girlfriends is closer than the heroine's relationship with the hero.

Crazy For You is the story of Quinn McKenzie who teaches art in high school. She is living with the coach, Bill Hilliard and he assumes that they will marry and have sons who will be star athletes. One day Quinn decides that her life is "beige" and she is tired of it. That afternoon, a student shows up with a dog and Quinn falls in love with it. This dog is a little, scrawny, ratty looking thing that shivers and pees all over the place. Quinn adores it, Bill hates it and tries to take it to the pound. That's the last straw, Quinn moves out, buys a tumbledown house and moves in with the little rat/dog.

Quinn's friends all think she has lost her mind giving up a wonderful man like Bill. Even Quinn's best friend Darla wonders about her. Darla has been happily married for seventeen years and even though her own marriage is getting a little boring, she still wonders. As for Bill - well he progresses from denial that Quinn has left him, to stalking her to assaulting her. Definitely not a nice man.

The love interest comes in the form of Nick, a mechanic who is Quinn's ex brother-in-law. Nick and Quinn have been friends for years, but Nick is allergic to commitment. When he sees that Quinn needs help with her ratty old house and her ratty pissing dog and her stalker ex-boyfriend, they end up spending a lot of time with each other and just being around each other begins to activate their hormones big time.

There is a cast of colorful supporting characters including Quinn's father who lives for ESPN, her mother who comes out as a lesbian, the principal of the school who is a smarmy little brown-noser, and a host of chicks who all seem to hang out at Darla's beauty shop.

Crazy For You moves along at a good clip and Jennifer Crusie is a marvelous storyteller, but I never thought that Quinn and Nick liked each other as people. Yes they lusted big time and were very hot to trot, but that's about it for their relationship. I just did not get a feeling that Quinn liked Nick as a man - actually I didn't think Quinn liked men as men. She just was not all that comfortable with "guy things" like sports (come to think of it, all the men in the story who were involved in sports were real Neanderthals). Nick was just there to scratch her itch and help her with the heavy stuff.

In the best of romances, I close the book feeling that the hero and heroine love each other and liked each other too. They will put up with each other's annoying habits, be there for each other in good times and bad and support each other no matter what. I predict in a couple of years, Nick will get the old wanderlust and Quinn will feel beige again and then it's "Goodbye baby, nice to have known ya!"

-- Ellen Micheletti

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