New York attorney concocts a strange theory to explain her dating slump.
Harmel (How to Sleep with a Movie Star, 2006) dredges up stock characters and well-tested plotlines in her second novel. Once again, an unmarried, successful, 30-year-old New Yorker struggles to find a man worthy of her time. Harper Roberts is an Ohio native who lands in New York to pursue her dream of becoming a patent lawyer. Apparently, Harper’s intellect is so razor-sharp that she leapfrogs her peers and becomes partner years ahead of schedule. Making partner at her firm kicks off the beginning of Harper’s dating dry spell; her live-in boyfriend moves out when he finds out Harper is out-earning him. Years pass, and somehow Harper manages to continually alienate the men she dates. In the midst of this romantic drought, she turns to her childhood friends Meg, Emmie and Jill (all fellow Ohio transplants) for help. Over cocktails, the girls decide to test out Harper’s theory: Men are threatened by successful women. Harper makes a pact to act and dress like a ditzy blonde cheerleader for a two-week period to see if her luck with men improves. According to the blonde theory, Harper should find more men to date if she downplays her achievements. While she does succeed in filling her calendar, all of the guys the “dumb” Harper attracts are egomaniacs looking for casual sex. In short, the theory is a flop; Harper continues to be alone and relatively miserable, and Harmel’s point in all this nonsense is lost. At least the female friendships come across as believable, as jealousy lurks beneath the surface when the marrieds and non-marrieds compare lives.
A dull and disjointed second effort from the self-described “Lit Chick.”