Thursday, October 27, 2011
Review: It Had to Be You
It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm pretty sure I read this book back in the day, but I didn't really remember it and since I've been on a sports romance, I decided to re-read it. It Had to Be You was published in 1994 and the book's age shows. I'm a big technology person and talk of answering services & landlines dated the book for me. In addition, the talk about safe sex, while certainly important and realistic, smacked a little of 'Hey, did you hear about this scary new HIV thing?' Why, yes, I do believe that I know about HIV. I also know that, according to a 2009 CDC report, the rate of STD transmission has dropped and is now more likely to occur in ethnic groups & the gay community. I think Phoebe and Dan, two straight, white, members of a high economic status, will be okay if they use protection. They spent more time on STDs than on the possibility of getting pregnant. You'd think that given how much Dan wants to be a father, the thought would have crossed his mind.
I think the other thing that diminished my entertainment was the fact I didn't particularly like the hero. Dan basically juggles two women, sleeping with the heroine while dating someone else. He's very dismissive of Phoebe on multiple occasions and the dude has communication problems. He's like your typically good ole boy. There's also a bit at the end where he basically beats the crap out another person. It's meant to be justifiable and Phillips's kinda glosses over the specifics, but Dan clearly has a violent streak buried within him. Phoebe fell in love with him way faster than I thought was realistic and I didn't quite get why.
The book really read more like fiction than a romance. It wasn't about Phoebe and Dan as a couple. It was about Phoebe overcoming the trauma of her past and her father's dickhood. It was about Dan overcoming his own dickhood. They had to grow as people before they could be a good couple.
I don't know enough about sports to really gauge how well those portions held up over the last seventeen years. An eight million dollar contract seems a bit low to me, but Google reveals that a standard contract would be for four years and two million dollars a year is actually on the high side for a wide receiver, so I don't know. I kept thinking about the movie Moneyball. While that was baseball, I think most of the same principles apply when managing a team and, in that respect, It Had to Be You was right on the money.
My public library system has the rest of the books in this series and I do plan on reading the next book in the series. It'll be interesting to see how it compares to It Had to Be You.