Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review: Knowing Me Knowing You

By Melissa Amster

The saying "don't judge a book by its cover" is very important to keep in mind, especially when it comes to books with rather, um, interesting covers. I can't say I was drawn into a story with a cover featuring a giant bird wearing a feather boa, but that's just me. However, the moment I looked past the cover and started reading "Knowing Me Knowing You," I was completely engrossed and emotionally invested the entire time. And I also had the ABBA song going through my head.

Kate Baxter is leading a stressful life, dealing with a boss who is trying to sabotage her work, raising a child on her own with a mountain of debt to show for it, and an ex-husband who won't give her any child support. Feeling pressured into not showing up alone to a company event, Kate hires a male escort to be her date. Before she knows it, they are tricked into appearing on a game show that is similar to "The Newlywed Game," featuring a slimy host and a giant dove that "lays eggs" on stage. One night of the show turns into a series of competitions and Kate has to make a lot of decisions for herself as a result.

This is the first book of Mandy Baggot's that I have read and now I want to see what else she has written. I enjoyed her easygoing writing style that was coupled with a mix of intense emotion and humor. The dialogue was realistic throughout. The characters were believable and I could really sympathize with Kate and what she was going through, even though I've never been in her shoes (aside from juggling motherhood and work). Ms. Baggot really knows how to write a villain though. Kate's boss, Miranda, totally rivals another evil boss named Miranda famous in the chick lit world. And her ex-husband, Matthew, makes the horror stories I've heard about ex-husbands sound far less scary. She also creates wonderful supporting characters for Kate's friends and an amazing romantic hero.

The only things I have to critique are the grammar and spelling errors throughout the story. Why Ms. Baggot didn't contact me beforehand to be a second pair of eyes, I'll never know. A good polishing of both would make this story stand out even more. I also wish she would have clarified some of the British slang she used. I know the people in the UK reading her books would get what she was saying, but I had to e-mail her to ask about something that sounded completely strange to me. Thankfully, she explained it and eased my mind. Finally, I wouldn't have minded a little more "spice" during the romantic scenes. She has a male escort who used to be an underwear model; I would have liked to see what he could do behind closed doors.

Overall, I really liked "Knowing Me Knowing You" and couldn't get enough of it. It had the feel of a Sue Margolis novel (a good thing, if you know my tastes) but also had a lot of emotional substance that I wasn't expecting, just judging from the cover. I'm sure Ms. Baggot could have written a romantic scene to rival those of Ms. Margolis, but she left it up to our imagination. Maybe she'll surprise me in one of her other novels (hint, hint). I recommend this novel to anyone who wants a clever, funny and emotionally driven story to read any time and any place.

Thanks to loveahappyending.com for choosing me to win this novel as part of their Review Chair contest.

More by Mandy Baggot:

1 comment:

Linn said...

Great review of a great book! Mandy is certainly a rising star and love the style of your review. Great blog!