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Crazy In Love – Chrissie Manby Review

Crazy In Love – Chrissie Manby Review

crazy in loveReleased: 2010

They’d be the ultimate celebrity couple if she wasn’t…crazy in love.

When you’re sitting on the beach this summer, you want something fun to read; something amusing, engaging and uplifting. What you don’t want is Crazy in Love, a book so light-hearted it could quite literally float away with a gentle breeze. Selected from the mile high pile of cheerful chick-lit reads, Crazy in Love was described as “deliciously funny”, “a fabulously funny read” and one “destined to keep you up into the small hours”. Oh how people lie. Don’t be fooled by the tempting adjectives; fabulously and deliciously funny this book is not. Nor did it keep me up into the small hours. I suppose I should’ve noticed that these praise-filled comments came from the likes of Heat magazine and the Daily Mirror, a trustworthy forewarning that Crazy in Love was not going to be the stuff that dreams are made of.

Heiress and socialite Birdie Sederburg is used to getting everything her heart desires. From clothes, to cars, to people – she is, for use of a better word, a spoilt brat. When she sets her sights on man of the moment, hot young actor Dean Stevenson, he doesn’t exactly reciprocate her sudden love – Birdie is too smitten to notice he’s only using her to further his career. She’s convinced she’s found ‘the one’ and when he resists taking their ‘relationship’ to the next level, her wild obsession grows stronger. So she does what any young girl in love does, gets herself kidnapped in order to win his heart. That is what self-respecting girls do for love these days isn’t it? When her kidnapping goes horribly wrong, Birdie’s forced to face up to her selfish ways and the source of her family fortune that’s killing the environment.

Sadly for Chrissie Manby, I feel like my squealing fifteen year old neighbour could have written Crazy in Love and, with all this news about J.K Rowling and pseudonyms, I’m not sure she didn’t. There’s nothing remarkable about this book, except how remarkably shallow it is. It’s void of any kind of substance and, whilst I understand that this suits the nature of the protagonist, the lack of intelligence and clever humour required for such an outlandish story makes the writing seem amateurish. It’s all the more disappointing because anyone familiar with Manby will know that she’s very much the professional, having written novels since 1997.

Birdie is the most unlikeable protagonist you could imagine and this is whole-heartedly Manby’s intention. The trouble is, it just doesn’t work. There has to be something, however small and insignificant that thing might be, that’s likeable about a main character; a little perk that redeems them or makes you emphasise with their dilemma. Birdie is so selfish, self-centred and arrogant that you hate her from the beginning and that seething hate never subsides. Even when she has the all-important eureka moment and changes her life-long attitude (which takes all of 10 seconds), she’s still intolerable. Unless you’re a socialite or z-list celebrity, I fear any young woman will struggle to relate to Birdie and her plights. I myself have never deliberately crashed my car into a man’s to get his attention, have you?

The plot is ridiculous, even in fiction terms, and the seemingly funny series of events are too unbelievable to hold your attention. What’s sad is that there are rare moments where the book could have been entertaining, exciting even, but Manby missed an obvious trick. Focusing less on Birdie’s charm offensive at the beginning and more on her kidnapping/changing mindset towards the end would have allowed the story some depth.

Pulling out every cliché and stereotype in the book, Crazy in Love is the least inspiring novel of the century. Basing your character on Paris Hilton was never going to set you on to a winner though, so perhaps it was doomed from the start. Next time I’ll read the small-print.

★★

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