The Man Most Likely
I looked forward to reading The Man Most Likely because it featured a plus-sized heroine, and it’s become a point of interest for me to read the different ways in which authors deal with physically less than perfect women. With respect to overweight heroines, some authors have their characters lose weight, others have them dress nicer so that they look nicer, still others have them (and the hero) realize that they’re ‘curvy’- not fat. But I’ve yet to read one where the woman starts off fat and ends fat, and the hero doesn’t find this an important issue (so he is neither happy nor angry about it, it’s just another aspect to the woman). <a href="http://www.likesbooks.com/banmanpro/a.aspx?ZoneID=4&Task=Click&Mode=HTML&SiteID=1&PageID=33387 ” target=”_blank”> <img src="http://www.likesbooks.com/banmanpro/a.aspx?ZoneID=4&Task=Get&Mode=HTML&SiteID=1&PageID=33387 ” width=”150″ height=”200″ border=”0″ alt=””>
I don’t mind reading any of these permutations of the plus-sized heroine because it’s always refreshing to step away from the stereotypically gorgeous leading lady. But as I started The Man Most Likely, I realized the book wasn’t about a plus-sized heroine at all, not for me anyway. Myers revolves the major relationship conflict in the story around Angela’s weight and her reluctance to actually believe that Bryan loves her and won’t wake up one morning and realize his life is a dead-end with a fat chick at his side. Angela has this fear based on past experience and it’s an understandable one, especially given the stage in Bryan’s life where he’s looking to move up in his career.
And this is what I found the book to be about: an atypical romance hero. After Bryan gets his first degree in Hotel Management, he arrives in Crested Butte, a ski village, for a good time and stays there for five more years, still having a good time. He’s a ski bum and a party-goer, living day-to-day and loving it for over five years. When the story opens, he has only just started to realize he wants more out of life, and he’s five months into a low-level management position at a local hotel. Bryan may be good-looking but he’s neither rich nor successful. Apart from blue-collar heroes who work in service as firemen or police officers, most male leads are well set up in life. Perhaps I need to expand my romance compass, but I have never read about a hero who whittled away his twenties on ski slopes and now has a real boss (one who he wants to impress and get ‘attaboys’ from) and some, but not a lot of responsibility.
Though I desperately wanted to be open-minded about this because ‘real’ characters are always great in a romance setting, Bryan’s stint as a ski bum had gone on too long for me. We never actually see him in this role but the people in his life constantly mention it as they chafe against his ‘selling out’ to become management. While his friends thought he was silly for getting a ‘boring’ job, I wondered at his internal drive (or lack of it), that he would spend over five, long years without that ‘boring’ job. I’m a drone, what can I say?
Then we find out that Bryan wants to own his own boutique hotel and wants to climb up the ranks in his current job to gain the necessary skill, experience and cash to make that move. At that point, I began to wonder if the story was making a statement about owning your own business as opposed to working in one or whether Myers had pushed as far as she could with an atypical romance hero but needed to send him back on track before The End.
So, The Man Most Likely threw up a lot of things for me to think on, and most of those things upended the actual romance which was standard fare. This is a ‘she’s curvy, not fat’ plus-sized story and Angela is a really nice woman. She runs her own business, has a passion for theatre, has a realistically drawn relationship with her mother, and thankfully, is not living in a bubble and has several friends. However, because of her weight she’s anxious about whether Bryan would ‘keep’ her. All I could think was: Girl, please! You’ve got a house, a business, a passion and a full life. He lives with four other guys, has only just realized he wants something more out of life than just an outdoor party and is light years away from that hotel of his he wants to own; you should be wondering whether you want to keep him!
Though I love to read imperfect heroines, I obviously have an issue with imperfect heroes. Well, at least now I’m aware of this double standard.