What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2010.

July 2, 2010

Smart Girls Like Me, Diane Vadino

Admission: I judge books by their covers. Some people select books by author, by recommendation, by awards won. I am a marketer's dream: I select by cover color, font type, book blurbs, buy one/get one stickers.

"Smart Girls Like Me" grabbed my attention with its light pink cover (always a good sign), stock photo image of clothes on hangers (bonus points for creativity), and use of CAPS and lower case (how e.e. cummings of you). The cover blurb by John Hodgman sealed the deal (otherwise known as the PC, but I love him most on The Daily Show). I recognized the author, Diane Vadino, from her blog. Chick-lit, with a dose of humor. How can you go wrong?

Well, first you'd start with a main character who you want to throttle for her outrageous whininess. Add the minor characters of the bridezilla BFF, token gay friend, lying boyfriend and parents having a retirement crisis, and you've got...still nothing. I didn't care about any of the characters and frequently wanted to put the book away, away, away (but that would break my rule requiring me to finish every book I start, a rule that has remained unbroken since I was 10. My other rule is that I can never turn off any song by The Police. I promise, those are my only weird rules.).

Next, add in the fact that each time I turned the page, I wondered if I had actually read the book last summer. I'm still not sure if I did or not (and, alas, the library does not offer a list of books you have checked out previously). Fortunately, this blog will allow me to remember the next time that this pretty pink book catches my eye that I've been there, done that before.

My only take away from this book occurred early on, when the main character talks about a coworker: "As smart as she is, and we all know she is the smartest person in the office, she probably wouldn't have gotten all of what she has if it weren't for her glossy black hair and green eyes and the way she manages to turn a pile of rubber bands sitting in a desk drawer into a bracelet we are meant to infer was casually yet artfully constructed." This line made me flip to the front to find out the copyright date: 2007. Did Diane Vadino invent Silly Bandz? I immediately turned to Google, my trusty comrade, and learned that no, that title belongs to Robert Croak. But she could have been on to something good, had she only capitalized on that thought.

But still, I finished this book, which brings my book count to 1!


  1. love your blog kerry and brendan - it really makes me laugh. at this point, i'm leaning toward rhinos who surf over smart girls like me as a possible summer read :)

  2. Reading these old posts just make me sad. I was so full of hope back then. . .