So you know how sometimes there’s just this book that’s perfect in all its cliché-ness? That just gives you exactly what you need, when you need it? That’s what Bet Me is. It was amazing.
“Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they’re dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.”
I mean, the whole plot is just a combination of clichés – but the amazing thing? They all work.
So Minerva Dobbs is a classic example of “slightly screwed by her parents”. Then again, Calvin Morrisey can be classified as “very screwed by his parents”, so they were always going to make quite the match. Although Minerva (or Min) is riddled with insecurities, though, she fully embraces that there’s more to her than just the way she looks. And Calvin (who is generally called Cal) might just be a poster child for “little love as a kid means seeking love as an adult”. To the point that his ex-girlfriend is writing a book about him. Sure, she may be a psychologist, but still.
What I absolutely loved about this book, is the side-characters. We have two different types of awful parents (three, if you want to cound Cal’s brother). You have the worst of friends (poor Di) and the greatest of friends (Liza is amazing and Bonnie is just great). There’s sisters actually caring about each other and wishing each other the best. There’s buddies sticking together, and not being scared to call each other out on their BS. (I mean, Tony is just something else).
And Elvis – well, the Elvis’ just keep this story together.
The way in which each character is giving just enough room to make them into fully fledged people, allowing the possibilities for endless further stories, while at the same time maintaining a focus on Min and Cal? Genious.
When you start off a review by going “Oh, clichés”, the review can go a lot of different directions. In this case, I have to give serious kuddo’s to Jennifer Crusie. The way in which she managed to pull everything together. Never to go too far on any one of them. Balance the characters as well as the storylines as well as the “well-beloved tropes”.
Anybody who’s been following this blog for a while, will know that I tend to hold Cathy Kelly and Jill Mansell as the epithome of “good chicklit“. As soon as I finished this book, I turned to the bf and told him: “This was at the level of-.” A higher compliment I cannot give.
The only reason I’m not giving this one a 5, is because I try to keep that score for the truly earth-shattering books. This one wasn’t quite that. However, if you need a fluffy, verging on the edge of smutty, chicklit? Something that will allow you to feel for the characters? Maybe even something that might have you actually laughing out loud? In other words: the perfect summer read? This is your pick!
Want to give this book a try? You can find Bet Me* on The Book Depository! (Affiliate link)