Playing Away

Adele Parks, Author Pocket Books $23.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-671-77543-8
What happens to Bridget Jones when she finally marries the wonderful man of her dreams? The much-imitated heroine is named Connie Green this time around, and she's the focus of Londoner Parks's initially humorous but finally enervating debut novel. Only nine months after her wedding. Connie flirts with John Harding, a handsome man she meets at a business conference, and begins an affair with him. Having always considered herself to be a Cosmopolitan woman, Connie oddly ignores the obvious conclusion that what she wants from John is sex. Instead, she believes that roguish John may be her destiny, though she insists she still loves nice-guy husband Luke. Of course the reader knows, as does Connie herself on some level, that the affair can't end well; the inevitability of disaster is overdetermined from the beginning. Parks is astute about male/female interactions, and she has cleverness to spare. It's unfortunate, then, that she squanders it on a tale that doesn't know whether it wants to be a joyously comic romp or a serious commentary on the concept of Happily Ever After. Connie is a frequently unsympathetic heroine who would confound Sigmund Freud, and is likely to alienate readers long before the tale reveals itself as cautionary rather than prescriptive. Even the ending fails to satisfy, being at once inevitable and highly unlikely, drawn more from the soft-focus, dreamy possibilities of cinema than the realities of probable human behavior. One hopes that, next time, Parks won't fritter away her talents on such a predictable story. Agent, Deborah Schneider. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2000
Release date: 07/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-14-029065-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-671-77546-9
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-7434-1851-5
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