**Giveaway is now closed**
Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned romantic comedy? Did it die with Nora Ephron? Because instead of Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and even the mediocre You’ve Got Mail, romantic comedy (or “rom-com”) fans are forced to sit through Judd Apatow’s take on love and marriage, which usually deals with an exceedingly immature man and his constantly nagging partner.
True rom-coms feature both man and woman as protagonists; they each have their own separate goals; they come into the relationship under false pretenses; they have best friends and romantic rivals; they come together at the end. This is the classic structure and what rom-com fans want. I believe the last movie that featured this formula was the Kate Hudson/Matthew McConaughey film How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
If you miss these movies as much as I do, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of Anne Browning Walker’s The Booby Trap. This book hits all the plot points of the classic romcom. Reading it is like watching a film; I could even see Kate and Matthew in the lead roles
Despite her Playboy Bunny name and body, Bambi Benson is a PhD candidate at Harvard in women’s studies. She’s spent the past year working at the Booby Trap – a “Hooters” copy cat – in order to get close to the waitresses there and report on their lives for her dissertation. Trip Whitley is the scion of a wealthy Boston family, made rich off of a dating agency. A playboy whose efforts at the agency are unappreciated, Trip is infuriated when he’s told to get a girlfriend in order to make the agency seem like the place to go for a real relationship. After meeting Bambi at a bachelor party at the Booby Trap, Trip hires her to pretend to be his girlfriend. He thinks he’s hiring a bimbo in order to infuriate his father – and Bambi agrees to go along with the charade in order to earn money to attend a conference in London, plus teach a lesson to Trip about judging women by their appearances.
The plot unfolds in a predictable but fun fashion. As Bambi and Trip spend more time together on their fake dates, Bambi finds that he’s not the insufferable pig she first presumed. And Trip finds himself drawn to Bambi and starts to suspect she’s not the idiot he first took her for.
The Booby Trap is a fast read and a fun ride. Yes, it’s predictable, but stories like these are meant to have happy endings. If the hero and heroine didn’t get together, it wouldn’t provide the emotional experience this type of book promises.
I did have two quibbles with the story, however. One, I found it unbelievable that owning a dating service could make a family wealthy, and that the paparazzi would find Trip a worthy stalking target. Two, I thought the whole question of whether it’s better to date a beauty or a brain to feel dated. Along with the women’s studies major, the novel felt like it should be taking place in the 1980s rather that present day. I think if Walker had spent more time exploring the question of what makes women work at a place like this; how they view themselves, etc., it would have felt more contemporary.
Still, these are minor points and they do not distract too much from the enjoyment of the novel. If another night at the movie theatre trying to decide between the latest comic book adaptation or the new zombie flick makes you want to scream, staying home with The Booby Trap is definitely an option.
Thanks to PR by the Book for the book in exchange for an honest review.
**We have one copy for a lucky reader anywhere in the world!**
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