Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Heaven, Texas

Heaven, Texas falls in romantic genre. Romantic comedy, I’d say. I am a huge fan of romantic comedy myself, but I know better than to expect more in those stories. To me, romantic comedy stories will always fall in mediocre level thus make it prone to fall into below average. I rarely find new recipe. It’s usually a guy, a girl, some conflicts and in the end they end up together. Cliché yet addictive. Because just admit it, everybody wants their life to be like some kind of romantic comedy stories. So if someone says that a romantic comedy story is predictable, I say, what do you expect? Don’t overthink it, it’s just for fun. It’s like eating candy. It’s sweet but obviously it won’t satisfy your hunger. Still, who doesn’t like candy?

The story involves Gracie Snow and Bobby Tom Denton. Of course they’ll end up together. But sometimes it’s not about the end. It’s about the journey, right?
“Bobby Tom Denton is a football player forced to retired early because of a knee injury. Being completely lost, grumpy Bobby Tom decided to sign a contract to do a movie only to find out afterwards that he reluctant to do it. He started to act up to prolong the making of the movie. That’s when the movie company sends Gracie Snow to be his chaperone. Bobby Tom detested her at first of course, insisting he doesn’t need a chaperone, only to find out how interesting Gracie has become to him and made peace with her.

Doing a movie in his own birthplace, Telarosa, formerly known as Heaven, he was attacked by a barrage of girls, wanting to be future Mrs. Booby Tom Denton. So to keep him from trouble, he asked Gracie to cooperate with him and tell people of Telarosa that they are engaged. So what started as fake-engagement apparently made impact on Bobby Tom’s feeling.

In the end he realized that, despite their constant fights, Bobby Tom wants to be around Gracie all the time.”
Oh my God. Even I managed to make the synopsis sounds tacky. Anyway, when it comes to romantic stories, I think characters and chemistry play huge roles. I mean, we already now the ending. So better make the journey worth it. It’s important that readers must desperately want the two main characters to be together. They must fit.

Gracie Snow is a prim and proper girl who turns neurotic when it comes to her job. She's a type a girl who likes to take care of everything. Not really an original idea. But everybody loves neurotic Sunday School teacher (Katherine Heigl, everyone? She might be in 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth, but let’s be real, Jane and Abby really are just a same character). Here’s what Bobby Tom said to Gracie when she insisted to drag Bobby Tom to his work place, “Just out of curiosity, sweetheart; did you ever talk to your doctor about givin' you some tranquilizers?”

Bobby Tom, however, in his own words, "I happen to be immature, undisciplined, and self-centered, pretty much a little boy in a man's body, although I'd appreciate it if you didn't quote me on that." He knows his way around women, knows how treat them and says what the ladies want to hear. And of course, never settle with one girl.

The setting is in Telarosa, Texas. A small city on the brink of bankruptcy. The city tries to survive by expanding their tourism sector, using Bobby Tom’s popularity. Bobby Tom of course reluctant to do it, while angelic Gracie tries to help everybody. The interactions between the two main character starts cute and interesting. How Gracie is a bit scared of bit Bobby Tom yet she forced herself to be brave is so adorable. She threw herself into Bobby Tom’s Thunderbird when he tried to leave her. And when Bobby Tom’s purposely teased her and made her buy him condoms, she fought back by inviting fangirls into his trailer. Bobby Tom’s careless attitude and the way he teases Gracie results in comical dialogues.

It was enjoyable but somehow Susan Elizabeth Phillips, the author, decided to take it too far. Gracie falls too hard and too easily for Bobby Tom that at one point it’s just borderline pathetic. Bobby Tom is very consistent in his role as a ladies man who wants to settle with noone, he makes fun of Gracie even though he’s sure Gracie is in love with him. And that’s how you turn a man into a jerk. You know when you read a book, you have this access to read the character’s mind so you know what the character actually think when he’s doing something? Even when we’re in Bobby Tom’s mind, we know he annoys Gracie just to annoy her. Not because he secretly likes her or whatever. It’s just mean, I had to push myself to read this part. The idea about a goody-two-shoes girl desperately chases after a jerk is just not entertaining. Now tell me if this conversation below is not disgusting.
He tilted the brim of his Stetson back with his thumb. “The thing of it is, for me to make certain this is going to be a good experience for you, I’d have to pretty much take control of your body right from the beginning. I’d have to own it, so to speak.”
She sounded vaguely hoarse. “You’d have to own my body?”
“Own it?”
“Yep. Your body’d belong to me instead of to you. It’d be just like I took a big ole Magic Marker and put my initials on every little part of you.”
Somewhat to his surprise, she seemed more stunned than insulted. “It sounds like slavery.”
Of course things slowly turned near the end. And the humorous dialogues helped a lot. But it was still annoying. Thankfully there is a secondary romance plot between Suzy Denton, Bobby Tom’s mother, and Way Sawyer, Telarosa’s public enemy. The story of course doesn’t get a lot of portion. But I love the background story about Suzy who has been a widow for four years, trying to fight her feelings when she realized she might be betraying her late husband and falls for a guy who used to be a high school brat. The story is beautiful and graceful. 

The last scene where the guy tries to woo the girl, which to me is a defining moment in every romantic stories, is just fine. It's too public and involves too many people meddling so I don't really like it. But that's personal preference. In general, it's still cute and so Bobby Tom (you'll know what I mean when you read the book). The author wrote an epilogue for this book but ended up cutting it. However, the epilogue was published on her website.

The book that I purchased is published by GagasMedia. The translation is good and very much enjoyable. But they really need to work on the typos. It's everywhere. I even found an English word, untranslated. I also love the casual cover. Just because it's a love story it doesn't mean the cover have to be tacky, right? I won't look twice at the book if it came with Harlequin-type of cover. By the way, the love scene in this book is pretty graphic. Call me old-fashioned but I think this book should come with such information to prevent underage kids from reading it. Unfortunately I see no information whatsoever on the cover.

As a romantic book, I think this book is okay. I don't mind spending my time reading it since it's quite entertaining. But it's not memorable either. If you have a heart for romantic story, it won't hurt to add this to your collection.

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