Friday, June 03, 2016

Kissing in America, by Margo Rabb

Eva is obsessed with romance novels, and in the two years since her father died she's read over a hundred of them (slacker!).  But now she's had a taste of the real thing with Will -- a boy who seems to really get her.  That is, until he moves away to California, leaving her bereft (much to the chagrin of her feminist academic mother).  All seems lost to Eva until her best friend Annie wins a slot on a game show taping in Los Angeles.  This provides a pretext for Eva and Annie to set off on an unlikely road trip across the continent, finding out a great deal about their families and the nature of love along the way.

An entertaining story of high improbability that explores some of the more irrational elements of romantic obsession.  I found Eva herself to be grating and melodramatic.  Ironically, this makes her funny at times, but there's no getting away from how self-absorbed she is.  Most of the rest of the characters are stereotypes (some of them -- like the cowboys in Texas -- are lazy and borderline offensive).  But I don't think that depicting great characters was the point!   Somewhat more crucial is the dearth of actual romance in this tribute to love.  Despite the book's title, there doesn't really seem to be that much kissing going on across the country!

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