by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster
Just released: June, 2007
I haven't read either The Nanny Diaries or Citizen Girl by the same writing duo and they've both gotten mixed reviews from friends. So, I was actually a little leery going into the reading of Dedication. I'd heard a lot of "Katie is so irritating" and "I just wanted to wring Jake's neck". From the standpoint of a person who has written fiction, I know that it's good for the reader to feel emotionally involved, but hating the characters can end up being entirely negative.
Regardless, I wanted to read the book and since I received it as an Advanced Review Copy, felt obligated to at least try, so that I could share my opinion with the publisher. When I picked it up, the book surprised me. It flowed well, apart from the occasional stretch of dialogue during which I couldn't figure out who was speaking. I was honestly sucked right in and enjoyed the reading.
Dedication is the story of Kate Hollis. Now thirty, still single and with a successful career, she has never had closure to her high school romance with Jake Sharpe. Jake has become a well-known recording star, with a string of hits that are mostly about Kate. When her best friend, Laura, calls to let Kate know that Jake has finally returned to their hometown to film a video, Kate is determined to see him, to discuss why he stood her up on prom night and convince him to share royalties from a song he and his high school friends co-wrote, now practically a classic entirely credited to Jake.
Jake is anxious to see Kate, but he has his own reasons. Convinced he still loves her, he wants to pick up their relationship where it left off, with his profession of love and a whole lot of casual sex. He claims to have never stopped thinking about her, even though he is involved in a much-publicized relationship and possibly on the verge of marriage.
Kate has been pining after Jake for so long that she has difficulty seeing the big picture. Jake is a narcissist. Even during the time they dated, he often stood her up frequently and he hasn't been in contact since before the prom. So, the big question is: Will Kate figure out what kind of person Jake really is and move on with her life?
There's also plenty of filler about Jake and Kate's dysfunctional families - the kind of thing I like to call "Dysfunctional Family Follies," in which a parent occasionally argues with the protagonist or comes home running-into-walls drunk. Most of Jake's family mess comes out in flashback scenes, while Kate is still arguing with her parents about Jake in the present-day setting and their story emerges more gradually.
A good portion of the basis for this story seemed ridiculous and Kate and Laura's high school experiences were so far removed from my own that I couldn't relate in any way, but I still found the book entertaining. It's not mentally taxing or dreary, even though Kate is definitely the kind of character you want to shake and Jake could have used a good, swift kick. The writing is not remarkable or special in any way, but the need to know what was going to happen kept the pages turning. I like a good, light relationship story and I think that's exactly what Dedication is - two people with a past meet and must resolve their unfinished relationship. I liked it. I'm much more interested in The Nanny Diaries, now.
4/5 for entertainment value - a quick read, great for those who like chick lit, not for those who are unsatisfied by a book that is about a relationship and little else.
I can't figure out why this is my favorite photo of the fountain in the Detroit airport, but I always pause on this one:
Maybe it's the way the two men in the background appear to have noticed the camera at the same time, while looking over at the fountain. Or, the contrast in their looks and outfits: two unique individuals spotting something at the exact same moment. The way the water is in focus but the people in the background seem to have become the subject matter fascinates me. Click on the photo to enbiggen, hugify, enlarge, etc.
If it doesn't storm, I'll begin working on that "100 Things About Me" post and/or a post on what little I've figured out about nature photography. I haven't forgotten either! I also hope to squeeze in some blog-hopping time. Wish us a storm-free evening.
Off to move the laundry! Fun times!!