When Idiots Date

Title: Fools Rush In
Author: Kristan Higgins
Published: 2006 
Reasons I might actually remember this one: Because I can’t afford enough pills, booze, or electroshock therapy to forget it?

I wanted to like this book. Oh, how I wanted to like it. I’ve read read two other books by Kristan Higgins–All I Ever Wanted and Catch of the Day–and I loved them both. I cried so hard at parts of those books that everyone who came in contact with me kept asking if I was okay, and suggesting I should stop reading whatever that was I was sobbing into, and I kept saying no, I can’t, it’s really good.

In retrospect, all the things that annoyed me about this one were present in the other two I’ve read; it’s just that they were either done well, or were just…less annoying. Like, the heroines: all three books feature heroines who’re idiots about men. But in All I Ever Wanted it was possible to overlook her crush on her jackass of a boss because he had actually slept with her (so I could sympathize with her wanting to imagine that meant something), and in Catch of the Day the heroine’s backstory-crush on the priest was hilarious. 

But this…ugh. Just ugh. She’s been in love with this guy since they were in school, when he was gorgeous and popular and she was plain and overweight. How do I hate her crush on him? Let me count the ways:

1. She’s an adult woman who has supposedly earned a medical degree (the least believable career imaginable for this woman, who comes across as scatty and clueless and perpetually distracted) but has never once questioned her crush on a guy who tomcats around with half the women in town;

2. She stalks him, spending the first third of the book arranging “accidental” meetings and memorizing his schedule so she can run into him (yet somehow the amount of time he spends in bars and hooking up with a string of women escapes her);

3. Part of her plan to win his attention revolves around losing weight. Once she’s a size eight, and has her one-and-only display of backbone in the entire book, he notices her. To be fair, in the scene where she kicks some other guy to the curb on their first date because he’s a condescending asshole? She was pretty damned cool. But oh, HOW I HATE heroines who diet down to a size eight to attract the hero. HATE.

4. The guy she has the crush on has a three-legged dog he dotes on. So she gets a dog just so they’ll have something in common. The dog is a pure pet moppet: all it does is hump legs and crap on the floor for comic relief, and half the time anyone comes over the heroine bars it in the bedroom or the basement or something. (I seriously don’t understand how an author who could write dogs so touchingly in her other books could have written this.)

5. Once they’re dating, the heroine realizes they never talk and they don’t share any interests. They just watch movies and sleep together, as far as I can tell.

6. And then the horrific revelations start coming. Some young girl she used to babysit shows up at the clinic to warn the heroine that Mr. Perfect Boyfriend slept with her and then dumped her. Some other ex of his sends him death glares all night. He confesses that his three-legged dog only has three legs because he was driving drunk and HIT HIM WITH THE CAR. His house is dirty, perpetually stripped down for renovations that never actually happen, and smells bad; he sleeps on a mattress on the floor. This guy is supposedly a carpenter in his thirties.

So, yeah. I had so much hatred going on for the hero and her crush-object that the whole rest of the book–her horrid sister; her lovely ex-brother-in-law who turns out to be the real hero; her single-parent friend who doesn’t want a man but sort of gets one anyway; her amazingly unsupportive mother–barely penetrated. I was way up to the supposedly-tense “will they be able to be together?” part near the end, and I still couldn’t forgive her for wasting her life mooning over a drunk-driving manchild. UGH.

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