The Nerd Who Loved Me
Romance novel nerds are not like the nerds I know. Take the nerd in this novel. Harry Armbrewster wears glasses, is kind of shy and is an accountant. Those are his only nerdly qualities, otherwise he is pretty hunkish. He’s tall, he’s nice looking, he can kick butt and he’s really…well, I’ll get to that in a minute.
Lainie Terrell is a dancer in Las Vegas. She loves to dance and is good enough that she will probably headline in the future. Her four-year-old son Dexter is a genius. One night she asks Harry to babysit Dexter while she dances in a show. That night, Dexter’s father, Joey Benjamin, comes by drunk and belligerant demanding to see Dexter. Harry and Dexter give Joey the slip, and pick up Lanie. They go to Harry’s mom Rona, a retired dancer, and she and her boyfriend Leo hatch out a plan. They will take care of Dexter (Leo runs a security business – Rona thinks he’s in the Mob) and keep Joey away while Harry and Lainie hide out in a time-share condo while they decide what to do.
This is the set-up for the main part of the book, getting Harry and Lainie together so ye olde sexual tension can build. It doesn’t take too long, since Lainie has been celibate for five years and Harry is such a hunky nerd. So she accosts him in the shower and they procede to have lots of sex all over the one-bedroom condo.
Harry and Lainie are both nice characters, but unfortunately they are stuck in a plot that is thin to the point of nonexistance. When the plot does make an appearance, it’s ridiculous. Take Harry’s paternity. His father was a brilliant research chemist, who at the age of 65 fell hard for 22 year old Rona. Unfortunately, he suffered from erectile dysfunction, but since he was a brilliant chemist, he whipped up a little home-made Viagra and had a wild night of passion. Then he dropped dead, bequeathing his brilliant brain and his impressive equipment to his son. I’m not one to fuss at farce, but really, this was too much. And how believable is it that, even though they have been a couple for years, Rona still thinks Leo is in the mob? These two have a real failure to communicate.
Then there’s Rona’s good buddies Suz, Trixie, Babs, and Cherie, all retired showgirls. They call themselves the Temptresses In Temporary Suspension, aka the TITS. This gives rise to lots and lots of tit jokes, most of which are not very funny. The final scene where the TITS save Lanie and Harry’s wedding when lots of things go wrong with it, is silly and not silly ha-ha either.
When Harry and Lainie are around, things are better since they are likable characters but they don’t do much of anything. Well, except have lots and lots of sex. And, by the way – I am not one to take offense – but after Harry and Lainie’s first sexual encounter when she jumps him in the shower, he uses the phrase “baptized you” in a context that I found very distasteful.
The entire last two thirds of the book can be summed up like this: Harry and Lainie drive around, go to the condo, talk, have sex, have an encounter with a snake, talk, have sex, have sex, have some more sex, then confront Joey (who is dumber than dirt), have a slight misunderstanding, and then it’s HEA for the showgirl and the nerd. There’s a little bit in the book about Lainie’s estrangement from her parents and how she is hurt when people think she’s dumb because she is a dancer. I wish these elements would have been emphasized more, since that would have given the story some needed depth. But as it is, this book is about 98 percent farce and sex. While in my very last review I wrote that the book (Janet Evanovich’s Ten Big Ones) was 98% humor and 2% “everything else,” Evanovich laid the groundwork for that throughout an entire series of books. Thompson hasn’t, leaving only farce and sex in its place, which simply wasn’t enough for me.
If you are looking for a lighter than a souffle read and have a weakness for farce, The Nerd Who Loved Me may just be your ticket. Me, I think I’d like my book to have a little more story. Nice characters like Harry and Lainie deserve it.