Friday, February 17, 2006

A Bunch of Lying Liars

Faking It by Jennifer Crusie

This is the first book that I've finished in weeks. And I liked it. I really liked it. There were slow bits, times where I wasn't liking the characters and thought about giving up, but I'm glad I didn't. I was quite pleased and satisfied at the end.

Faking It is the story of Tilda Goodnight,an art forger and the dependable one in a family of flakes, and Davy Dempsey, the con man brother of Sophie from Welcome to Temptation. They meets cute in the closet of Clea Lewis, who was also featured in Welcome to Temptation. Davy is trying to steal his money back from Clea, Tilda, a painting that she painted as part of a long-ago scam. I won't spend a lot of time going over the plot, that would take a long time, and I don't think I could. But it features lots of lies and misunderstandings, eccentric family members, con artists and marks, hit men, FBI agents, sexed up vixens, and lots of lies and misunderstandings. Yeah. It's a real testament to Crusie's skill that she makes most of this cute and fun, rather than annoying and grating.

I really liked the moral ambiguity of the characters. I like my comedy dark and my characters gray. I'm often drawn to stories that feature characters that are not quite on the up and up. I think that everyone in this story lies at least once, and almost everyone engages in behavior that if not downright illegal, is ethically ambiguous at best. And even if they feel guilt, it's not that much (except for Tilda) because they feel they are doing it for a good cause--family, to right a wrong etc. I would imagine that this might bother some readers. Oh well, not me. At first I thought that Tilda and Davy were a bit too enigmatic, or detached, or something, and that I wouldn't be able to get into their story. But ultimately this is the story of Davy and Tilda accepting who they are and because of that (in spite of that?)being able to truly love each other. I believed in them by the end.

I liked Davy especially. He was pretty self-aware and accepting of his feelings for Tilda, if a bit surprised by them at first. Tilda on the other hand, got on my nerves a bit. Intellectually I could understand why she was acting the way she was, but please, sister. You've got this guy, you find him very attractive and he's given you an orgasm, but you're going to repeatedly and bitchily turn him down, even though he's pretty much begging for sex. OK. Actually, I found all of the Goodnights, despite their endearing eccentricities, to all have this passive, life-just-happened to-me-and-now-I-have-to-suffer thing going on which grated a bit. And they would all believe anything anybody said to them, just so they could be like, "Oh well, I thought that things would change, but (insert name here) is an FBI agent, so now I'm stuck forever." They're a bunch of liars themselves, but no one ever considers the fact that someone else might be less than truthful? However, as I'm writing this, I'm admiring Crusie, b/c this behavior really could be seen as a family trait, although I didn't really think of it that way at first, and it makes the Goodnights seem that much more, uh, family-like and connected.

Of course Faking It contains a lot of the usual Crusie wit including, a really hilarious denouement. I thought this book was fun. Thumbs up to Jennifer Crusie, I'll be tracking down more of her books soon.


Anonymous said...

Faking it is my absolute favorite Crusie. Hands down. Glad to hear you liked it! :)