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Review: Bet Me


The main problem with Jennifer Crusie books is that I have a hard time putting them down.

Bet Me isn't my favorite of hers, but it was still engaging enough that I read it in something like a week, mostly just before going to sleep and just after waking up. I marked about three dozen lines with book darts—mostly funny, but sometimes charming or even wise.

The plot is one of those plots they tell writers never to write, where everything is based on a misunderstanding that one honest conversation—in fact, one sentence—would resolve. I found that a little frustrating, especially 400 pages of it, but mostly the book was charming enough that I didn't mind. (And to some extent, the difficulty of having such conversations is part of what the book is about.) I liked the protagonist being overweight—Mary Anne noted that you don't see that so often in romance novels—and I liked the protagonists' friends, and I was delighted to see a lesbian as a prominent minor character, something else I gather you don't see so often in romance novels. A nice mirror-image of the usual modern romantic-comedy thing where the female lead has a fabulous gay male best friend.

Oh, and I adore the ending of this book.

I guess I don't have so much more to say about it. Except: thanks once again to Jennifer Stevenson for reading a sex scene from Welcome to Temptation at a WisCon panel a couple years ago, and thereby getting me hooked on Crusie.


As a representative of the body type mentioned, I must say that the word "fat" is better than the word "overweight", which is potentially offensive in the same way the term "nonwhite" or "un-male" would be to describe a person.

"Fat" describes what your subject is and has, while "overweight" implies a deviation from a standard set on some other body.

Apologies. I usually avoid the term "overweight"; not sure what led me to use it this time.

Granted this is late. But, anent "overweight" and "fat," I have two observations.

1. Being overweight isn't necessarily being fat. I weigh about 50 pounds more than I should for my 5-foot-7.5-inch height, and consider myself fat. If I weighed 10 or 15 pounds more than my ideal weight, I'd consider myself overweight. If I weighed 20 pounds more than I do, I'd be clinically obese. Then there's morbidly obese.

Having had a mother with aspects of the mother in "Bet Me," I'd bet that Cruisie's character is closer to 15 pounds overweight than to 50. I could, of course, be wrong. Cruisie never tells us our heroine's height and weight, as far as I recall.

2. I don't know whether it's universal, but, as a reporter, I have been told that candidates for stomach-stapling would rather be called "obese" than "fat."
"Fat" is an insult, "obese" is not. I was told.