Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips ***

This was an eagerly awaited book for me - a new SEP! I had the book on my wishlist at paperbackswap and then thought to see if it was on audio, and it was. So I deleted it from the WL and downloaded it from

It might have been a mistake to do that in the middle of my Chicago Stars marathon re-listen. Anna Fields/Kate Fleming was a narrator whose talents are so above almost every narrator I've heard that it would be hard for me to hear a new voice. Fleming died in a tragic accident 2 years ago, just months after finishing the final Chicago Stars audio Natural Born Charmer. Her ability to create not just voices but complete, 3-dimensional characters is truly unsurpassed in my experience.

The new narrator not only couldn't compare, she didn't ever even rise above mediocre in my mind. She used a sort of serious tone that didn't match the light and humorous words of the typical SEP prose, and she sounded pretty much like so many of the midlist narrators used in the run-of-the mill audio books. Her male voices were not good and her voice for Lance was awful. Basically, I think I'm going to have to get the book now and read it to see if I liked it because I'm so disappointed by this new narrator I can hardly remember the story...

Let's see: Georgie is a former child star of a successful sitcom that's been off the air now 8 years. She's a sort of has-been at this point - she was dumped by her husband, who cheated on her and left her for another actress (think Brad and Angelina... hmmm...). She runs into her co-star from the sitcom, Bramwell Shepard, the fellow who took her virginity, ruined the sitcom and has a real bad-boy reputation at this point.

Unfortunately, at a party, there's some - well, date rape drugs?? - something slipped into their drinks, and they wake up together in a hotel room with a marriage license, not remembering what happened the night before. And it's too late to dissemble - the papparazzi already knows. So they decide to go forward with the marriage as though it's real, for the sake of... something. She's still got her money, since her father was a good manager, so she offers to pay him to pretend to be married.

Plotwise, it's the predictable "marriage of convenience" type scenario. They don't let on to anyone, and put up a good front for the press as well as for family and friends, but behind the scenes they are mortal enemies, doing anything and everything to piss the other off. Oh, and along they way, they are building a true relationship that leads to love.

Actually, in spite of my annoyance with the truly mediocre (not dreadful, just boring) narration, I think the story was fun. I generally like SEP's style, and there were a lot of laughs and some poignant moments. I'll just have to read it again, in a book, to get a better sense of it. There's a book that Bram has optioned for a movie - he's desperate to produce it and play the lead, and along the way Georgie decides it's a good bet and backs him, hoping to play the leading actress role herself. There are the usual lovable secondary characters, Chaz and Aaron, Bram's and Georgie's personal assistants; Paul, Georgie's father and Laura, her agent; Lance and Jade (Brad and Angelina-esque); Trevor, best friend to both of them.

OK - for now, I'm going with 3 stars. The scene at the end, where Bram declares his love, was confusing - I know he declares it towards the end, not actually meaning it and then turns around and does it again, meaning it. But I was so distracted by the droning on and on of this narrator that I sorta lost track and wasn't sure what was going on. Maybe when I read it, I'll feel his transformation from enemy-to-friend-to-lover.

The only challenge it fits is the A To Z for title. Back to the Chicago Stars for me!

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