I Went To Vassar for This?
This book gave me the mother of all headaches. Most likely because my brow was knitted together from the “What the…?” face I made during the entire reading. Sadly to say, the author took a rather interesting premise (which she got from her editor: see acknowledgments) and turned it into a disaster.
Cathy Voorhees just knows she is the best thing to happen to the New York world of advertising…so why was she just fired from her high profile job? Feeling depressed, she heads to her apartment, puts a tin foil-encased frozen dinner in the microwave, and is surprised when said microwave blows up in her face. This suddenly transports her to 1959 New York and into the life and body of Cathy Voight.
The first person she meets upon waking is our hero (I use the term loosely), Hank. Crew cut, dandruff, thick framed glasses and red flannel shirt are our first impression. Soon after we find out he is also an aspiring comic book illustrator. I am all for beta heroes, don’t get me wrong, but this guy was a little over the top. Comic books and dandruff are the only ways I can describe him, a symptom of the author’s penchant for creating the one-dimensional characters who are littered throughout this book.
Cathy’s troubles start with work – she is a cook book writer who does not cook and seems the 1950s version of a white trash Martha Stewart. She must cope endlessly with sexual harassment from her boss and intern, all the while fighting her conscious about future events she might be able to fix, which results in her being hauled in by the FBI for sending “helpful” letters to Martin Luther King and JFK to warn them of there imminent demise. Her confusion about the lack of racial integration also rings a bit false. Yes, it was unjust and immoral, but it was there. You would think she had just found out there was a secret sect of housewives holding Oompa Loompas as bond slaves in the bowels of the city.
The book flows choppily and there are contradictions a plenty from the heroine bad mouthing herbal tea in one chapter to mentioning her favorite tea shop in the next. She doesn’t have a brother, then waxes poetic about missing her family, including her brother. Her behavior confused me and I wondered exactly who she was. Though written as an Ivy League grad with an MBA, she acted like the graveyard shift waitress from Denny’s. There are people who aren’t very good at history, but Lance Armstrong landing on the moon? Please.
The silver lining: I chuckled a few times in the beginning and once or twice after the first 150 pages, and I wanted to see if/how she returned to her own time…and Hank. The book improves during the last fifty or so pages, but I doubt most readers will last that long.
Flat characters, a confusing plot, nerdy hero, and an annoying heroine made this reading experience a downer. I would pass on this bit fiction.