Make Me Over
Sadly, my friends, reality television has now entered into the world of books and Ms. Kelly is an author at the forefront of this new breed of stories. But, frankly, it is not nearly as fun reading about a fictional character humiliating herself as it is to see a real human being do so in front of millions.
Tori Lyons grew up surrounded by men while working for the National Hot Rod Association, with little time for book learnin’ or feminine pursuits. She agrees to become a contestant on a reality game show in order to fulfill a promise made to a father she believed to be dying. Even though her father did not die, she plans to keep her promise and learn to become a refined woman via reality TV. Professor Drew Bennett only agreed to be a part of the show in order to promote his new book and procure money for his favorite charity, but when Drew shows up at the mansion to meet the female contestants, it is more like he is participating in an episode of Girls Gone Wild. Yet, with no way to get out of the deal, Drew is stuck teaching the female contestants some manners.
The longer Drew is in the mansion, the more suspicious he becomes. Much to his annoyance, it seems as if every woman is completely dying for affection, for he can’t turn a corner without a contestant throwing herself at him. But there is one contestant he would not mind becoming better acquainted with – Tori. True, she is incredibly good looking, but Drew also sees promise underneath Tori’s rough exterior. Tori is immediately drawn to Drew, but her plans do not involve sticking around to get to know the man. First things first, she needs to get kicked off the show – but while she’s at it, one kiss with Drew won’t hurt. But that one kiss just makes Tori want the man all the more and, to make matters worse, she can’t seem to get thrown off of the program. The more time they spend together, the more Tori and Drew fall for each other. But when Drew finds out that the show is not exactly what he thinks and that he is the actual prize, will he ever forgive Tori?
I am well acquainted with two people from Tennessee and I have never heard either one of them say “ain’t”, “Jiminy Crickets”, or “shew-ee”. And, although I am sure there are people from Tennessee (as there are from every state) who are not exactly well spoken, I have a feeling that readers from that state may not appreciate the stereotyping that comes with the character. Still, it doesn’t really matter what state Tori is from, what matters is that her language is just so incredibly annoying that I had to grit my teeth at times. In fact, her character in general is just too overblown. Half the time she sounds like a ten-year old and the other half she is rather blunt in her sexual talk.
Although I believe the author intended the main character to have the charming attractiveness of Eliza in My Fair Lady, Tori is actually more along the lines of a horny Elly May. I’m just not a fan of stupid main characters and, while I realize the author was trying to make Tori seem more uneducated than stupid, no adult says “Jiminy Crickets” – or at least they shouldn’t. And if they do, well, then, please, for everyone’s sake, learn a curse word or two. Not only were the female characters just too silly, but the plot twists were just too obvious.
There was one small surprise involving a contestant, which sadly enough, I quickly figured out. I say sadly because I obviously watch too much reality television to have jumped to that immediate and accurate conclusion. Drew was certainly likable enough, and I would have enjoyed seeing his character more thoroughly developed. And there were, admittedly, a couple of sweet moments. If you like the woman-made-over theme, you may like this book. And if you love reality television, well, then this just may further feed your addiction. But, for many readers, Tori is simply too annoying and the premise too silly for this to be a good read.