What Phoebe Wants
I planned on giving this book a slightly better grade, but after waiting a week to work on the review, I sat down in front of my computer and could not remember what the book was about. In fact, I could not remember the book at all. I knew there was a book to review, but for the life of me I could not remember what it was. Although the story was a light and fun read – perfect for taking to the beach when you don’t want to get involved in a long, drawn out story – it is one that is all too easily forgotten.
People have walked all over Phoebe Frame for most of her adult life. She works in a medical office doing the paperwork for a sleazy, well-known doctor who likes to take advantage of his popularity by molesting those he hires. She is recently divorced from a man who left her for a woman ten years younger, and her car ends up breaking down when she needs it most. It’s the betrayal of her car that really pushes Phoebe into strengthening her resolve: She will no longer let her life be out of her hands. She is going to take control.
Her first decision is a simple one. Phoebe needs to buy a new car, but this time she’s going for the blue convertible she always wanted, not a “sensible” vehicle. She buys the car with no help from anyone, because, of course, she has taken control of her life. The car, though, ends up breaking down and the shady dealership she bought it from refuses to take the car back unless she pays an outrageous amount of money to fix it. So much for taking control of her life. Not only does Phoebe have no car, but she has other problems too, involving her career and her love life.
But minor setbacks aren’t going to stop Phoebe. Sure, her car is being held hostage and her boss has decided to make her his newest toy, but she still refuses to give in. Not only does she have to rebuff the advances of her boss, she also has to keep under control her attraction to Jeff, a man hired to install a new computer system in the office. Jeff is gorgeous and attracted to her, but he’s younger than she is; she certainly cannot date the man since she’s too old for him. Not that she trust men any more, anyway. But how can she ignore Jeff when he keeps asking her out and they work in such close contact?
As much as she wants to forget Jeff, she finds it impossible to resist her growing attraction. Maybe she should just let go and have some fun. She’s tired of being a sensible adult, and she’s tired of being taken advantage of, so she decides she has had enough. Not only does she start to date Jeff (although she is unsure if the relationship will actually work), but Phoebe also decides to do whatever it takes to get her car back, even if it means putting herself in the spotlight.
From the beginning we are told that Phoebe is not going to be taken advantage of any longer. The problem is that we really don’t know the old Phoebe well enough to know what she was like and how she has changed. And even though she insists she is taking control of her life, Phoebe still sweats the small, silly stuff and still ends up in bad situations – mostly of her own making. For instance, she insists she is not going to be taken advantage of, but that’s precisely what happens when she buys her first lemon. Phoebe’s boss is a sexist horror, yet she just lives with it, thinking there is nothing she can do.
The entire book is about Phoebe taking control of her life, yet we have to wade through silliness and insecurity before we actually see that happen. I never really felt the strong attraction that Phoebe and Jeff supposedly had for each other and Jeff’s character isn’t explored well. And yet, as silly as many of Phoebel’s problems are, they represent realistic misfortunes faced by many women in today’s world, and so are understandable. In the end, the book is a story full of silly fun good for a few chuckles.
What Phoebe Wants isn’t a perfect love story and it’s almost immediately a forgettable read. But it’s also easy and fun and might help you relax after a day of your own troubles.