Book Review: GIRLS' POKER NIGHT, by Jill A. Davis

That's right--I joined a book club. I've yet to attend a meeting, but there's one coming up this week and I hear there will be fondue. I'm supposed to bring apples, or at least that's what my invitation said.

On a random but not entirely unrelated note, I must add that I checked this book out from the library and discovered, to my dismay, that it smelled strongly of cough syrup. Undoubtedly this has effected my reading of GIRLS' POKER NIGHT, but possibly not--possibly I'm not that shallow.

But probably I am.

Anyway. I must admit I was skeptical going into this book, mostly because it has pink on the cover and one of those foo-foo fonts with all kinds of swirls and peppy letters heading every chapter (okay, yeah, I am that shallow), but really, when it's all said and done, I think I liked GIRLS' POKER NIGHT. Ruby Capote, the narrator, kinda won me over.

See, Ruby, a quirky newspaper columnist, sends the editor of The New York News a batch of her best columns and a six-pack of beer, lands a job at the paper and leaves Boston (and her boyfriend, Doug) behind. The story is told in a series of short scenes (not even chapters, really--the sections are titled but are not often longer than, say, half a page apiece), and the scenes are sprinkled with the wacky antics of Ruby's friends at their weekly poker night, as well as with Ruby's therapy sessions.

And therein lies the problem: the therapy session. At some point, Ruby gets less funny and more...emotionally conflicted. Psychobabble abounds; there's talk of her abandonment issues and several scenes where she cries and cries and cries...and cries. And cries.

Perhaps she has reasons to cry, but they're so over-analyzed--by Ruby, her friends, her lover and her shrink; everybody's got a take on Ruby's problems--that, well, I quit actually knowing (or caring) what pushed Ruby to a state of near-breakdown. Ruby, as a character, is fun, but not especially deep, so when she stopped being fun, I found it difficult to stay interested.

But when she's fun, she's really fun. Ruby Capote's got some great one liners.

This is a good light read, I'd say--take it to the beach or something, read it when you crave something witty and laughable, and try not to mind the crying. That's my advice.


No comments: