Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rhymes With Cupid by Anna Humphrey

Title: Rhymes With Cupid
Author: Anna Humphrey
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperTeen
Release Date: December 21, 2010
Pages: 234 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it

Rhymes with Cupid


Goodman's Gifts & Stationery Store
February 14
Cashier: Elyse
3 boxes of heart-shaped chocolate . . . $12.00
Chocolate is the only good thing about this nauseating holiday.

4 containers of candy hearts . . . $5.00
Ever since my ex cheated on me, I've sworn off love. Too bad my new neighbor Patrick didn't get the memo.

1 Valentine's Day card . . . $4.50
I'm not interested. Although, he is pretty cute. And sweet. And funny.

1 singing Cupid doll (promotional item) . . . $0.00
Stupid Cupid! Point your arrows at someone else. . . .

Subtotal . . . $21.50
It's going to be a complicated Valentine's Day.

Why I Didn't Finish This Book

I had no expectations of Rhymes With Cupid beyond it being a fluff book to enjoy during summer and give myself a break with, but it was unable to succeed even in that respect.

The main reason I'm putting down Rhymes With Cupid for good is its main character and narrator Elyse Phillips. I like reading about characters who, for one reason or another, are cynical about love. I really do. It seemed like she had some sense, but she was so over-the-top in her dislike of love that it was painful to read, like how it seemed more like she was forcing herself to stay single and not move on rather than her choice not to date being natural. And her bad saleswomanship when Patrick was looking for a Valentine's Day card and she badmouthed all the cards. And her completely serious plans for Valentine's day to buy a bunch of chocolate and devour them all. She also spends her time lying to her co-worker Dina about Patrick having an interest in Dina.

In general, she's a drama queen and hard-to-like narrator. She constantly whines about "oh, I'm such an awful driver, I'll kill people if I get on the road!" I'm a horrible driver too. Once, I forgot where the brake was and I nearly hit a man and a mailbox because of it. I make jokes about how I shouldn't be on the road because of that, but she's dead serious all the time. And she's really not that bad of a driver. When Patrick takes an interest of Elyse's to teach her how to parallel park, Elyse flips the hell out. He chose to make her park between two very expensive cars, yeah, but how about rejoicing that you did it without damaging either car instead of freaking out over what didn't happen?

I will give it to Elyse that she is flawed, deeply flawed, but she had no redeeming traits whatsoever. There is not one thing I like about her personality and since the entire book is about her romantic dilemmas, it's best I stop here and save myself another 160 pages.

All that made this book interesting for me at all was a quick alternative character interpretation I did. Here goes: Her ex cheating on her with her best friend messed with Elyse's mind and made her both cynical and hateful of love. When Dina shows herself to be vulnerable and Patrick walks into the shop, Elyse sees an opportunity. She manipulates Dina, feeding her lie after lie about Patrick thinking she's cute, and gets Dina's hopes up. Then Dina will discover that Patrick doesn't like her and be heartbroken. Possibly mad at Elyse first, but Elyse will lie more and convince her Patrick lied, not her. Then Dina will be heartbroken and manipulate others the way Elyse does. An endless cycle of screwing with your head.

I'm sure that if I read further, my alternative character interpretation would fall apart, but I don't mind.  It was just something to entertain myself (and hopefully you) with for a few minutes.

Normally, I only mark a book a DNF if it's so awful that finishing it and ripping it apart with my review wouldn't be worth my pain. I really do try to finish every book I read. There are ten books in my room still waiting to be read and now I have the H.Y.P.E. Project on my agenda, which includes a dozen or more books. Rhymes With Cupid is not bad, but it's not interesting to me and I ultimately don't have the time to waste on it right now. If there's nothing that clicks with me, I'm not going to stick with it.

What am I reading next?: The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge