What Looks Like Crazy

Charlotte Hughes
2008, Chick Lit
Jove, $7.99, 288 pages, Amazon ASIN 0515144231

Grade: C+
Sensuality: Subtle

Every once in a while, itís good to take a break from straightforward romance and read something thatís just a little different. For me, chick lit is a good way to do that and Charlotte Hughesí What Looks Like Crazy came close to fitting the bill.

Kate Holly, an Atlanta clinical psychologist, is trying to wrap her head around her own upcoming divorce and maneuver through life, her practice, and her overly helpful friends and family. Sheís discovering, however, that sometimes the friends, family, and patients can get you into more trouble than any one person deserves.

The first problem she doesnít need begins when her mother and aunt, the celebrity junk dealers of Atlanta, take the initiative to decorate her rented home. When they place what one particular neighbor views as a pornographic sculpture in Kateís front yard, a neighborly feud begins to escalate. The feud runs the gamut from eggings to picketing, to media coverage, police intervention, and even strange threatening phone calls that Kate thinks are related to the art.

Kate also gets tremendous, yet somewhat unwanted, help from her friend, Mona, and her ex-boyfriend. Mona, who doubles as Kateís secretary, is an extremely wealthy widow, probably a little bored, and needs someone to manage. Her newest goal is to increase Kateís practice by offering manicures and pedicures to clients, arranging an open house, and a health fair in the parking lot. All of which, could probably get Kate in a heap of trouble. To make matters worse, psychiatrist ex-boyfriend refers every deeply disturbed individual in Atlanta to her practice, when heís not trying to get back into her bed.

To top it off, there's the divorce from the love of her life, her firefighter husband, Jay. The reason: He puts his life on the line and takes the same chances as the men under him and, as the daughter of a firefighter who lost his life in a work-related tragedy, she doesnít want to go through the same thing again. Instead, she wants him to take a nice, cushy, safe job. When he refused, she left and filed for divorce. After six months and no contact with him, she sees him again right before the divorce is final and all the old feelings rush back again and leave her in turmoil.

Kateís relationship with her ex-husband was my biggest problem with this book. Fear of his getting hurt just didnít seem like enough of an excuse to file for divorce, especially considering that she knew what she was getting into when she married him. Also, itís hard to keep up with all the characters the heroine comes into contact with and I couldnít help but wonder what could possibly go wrong next. (Needless to say, Iím glad that my life in no way resembles fiction.) Furthermore, I didnít realize that this was the first of a series when I began reading and was somewhat frustrated when there was no resolution to the relationship issue by the end.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the kookiness of Kateís life and she was a character I could root for. Constant action kept the plot from getting bogged down and produced a quick, light read. Iíll probably pick up the next in this series by Charlotte Hughes because Iíd like to see what the characters encounter next.

-- Heather Brooks

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