Monday, March 23, 2009

Everything You Want, by Barbara Shoup

When Emma's Dad wins $50 million on Lotto, it seems at first as if everything is coming up roses. But that just isn't how life works. Instead, the sudden influx of wealth complicates things. Emma finds that all of her previous issues (insecurity, lack of focus, fear, etc.) get magnified by the money. Now, she can do anything she wants, but she can't figure out what that is. Add to this an extreme awkwardness with boys, and she has to do some serious soul searching.

This might be interesting territory to go down if you have never watched a rags-to-riches story on VH-1, but otherwise you might already be familiar with the concept that money corrupts. And you might have noticed that it has a tendency to turn character weaknesses into social pathologies. The question you have to ask yourself: do you care? Do you feel sorry for the poor little rich girl or do you (like me) get a bit tired of caring for someone who can't seem to get their life together? It doesn't help, of course, that the parents are not exactly paragons of responsibility either!

Overall, this story goes on too long. You'll get the idea in the first fifty pages that these are people who can't handle wealth. After that reality is established, where does one go with the story? I longed for some serious redemption, but Shoup avoids any real deep sul discovery. As a result, the characters never quite dig themselves out of their wallowing and self-pity. It makes for light escapism, but there isn't much in the lessons learned department.

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