Love To Love You Baby
Love To Love You Baby was a frustrating book for me. I loved it for its sports background and its truly likable main characters. It was funny too. But some of the secondary characters caused me to grind my teeth. Yes, I know that humor is subjective, but I didn’t find them very funny and they actually detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
Jack Trehan is a former major league pitcher, who like Sandy Koufax, suffered a career ending arm injury after a short but Hall-of-Fame-worthy career in baseball. Now he is back in his hometown, in a big empty house wondering whether to take a position as a token pitcher for a Japanese baseball team. To sum it all up – he’s at loose ends. Keely McBride is an interior decorator who is back in her home town after a failed engagement and a failed career in New York City, which resulted in her rotten fiancée taking over her fledgling business. She too is at loose ends.
A few months before, Jack’s ditzy cousin Cecily had called, babbling on about her new guru Blue Rainbow and wondering what to do when her inner child gets out. Since Jack knows Cecily is a bit looney, he just let her talk, but one day there’s Cecily’s inner child on Jack’s doorstep in a basket with a note saying that Cecily and Blue Rainbow are off to find enlightenment. Well, Jack has no idea how to take care of a baby, especially in a totally unfurnished house, so he hires an interior decorator, Keely and promises to pay more if she will be the baby sitter as well.
Keely knows nothing about babies, but she needs money and Jack is rich, so with visions of large commissions running through her head (and the help of some how-to videos), she becomes an instant nanny.
Naturally, things get wacky. Enter Cecily’s brother Joey – a Soprano’s wannabe – along with various and sundry other colorful characters including a big hunk of muscle with the nickname of “Sweetness.” Note: This is rank heresy! There is one and only one Sweetness, the late great Chicago Bear Walter Payton – a superb football player and a wonderful man. He and he alone is Sweetness, and no one else deserves that nickname. Sweetness indeed!
Eventually, Cecily shows up with Blue Rainbow in tow, and but not until all the wacky characters do lots of wacky things. Some of which were pretty darn funny, and it all comes to a very satisfactory end.
I can’t say enough about Jack and Keely – I really liked them as individuals and as a couple And, as an instant pushover where sports themes are concerned, I was thrilled when author Michaels handled this one just right. Jack defines himself by his pitching ability, and to lose it while at the same time seeing his twin brother Tim continue to be a success in his major league career makes him just enough of a (slightly) tortured hero to be a great hero of romantic comedy. Jack’s growth as a man, and his realization that he is more than just a strong-arm made him extremely lovable. Keely also grows as a character and realizes that just because she didn’t make it in the Big Apple is no reflection on her as a person.
My problem came with the secondary characters. If there were an Olympic competition for humor appreciation, I would probably win lots of gold medals. But there are two kinds of characters I just don’t find funny, mafioso and New Age airheads, and they were both quite prominent in this book. I know this is subjective, and there will be others who won’t have the problem I do with these kinds of characters, but I simply didn’t laugh at them.
If you like romantic comedy, don’t let my blind spots prevent you from giving Love To Love You Baby a try. Like I said, the main characters are a wonderful pair, and I applaud any book with a sports theme. Those of you with a higher tolerance for wise-guys and New Age types will probably enjoy this much more than I did.