Dear Dwayne, With Love by Eliza Gordon
Published by Lake Union Publishing, January 23rd 2018
Genre: Adult, Romance, Fiction
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I just had to get that out there first and foremost. I’ve been requesting a lot of women’s fiction (does this bother anyone else? Like is general fiction man fiction? Someone please make me feel better about this genre’s title) and I’m loving it!
Wannabe actress Dani Steele’s résumé resembles a cautionary tale on how not to be famous. She’s pushing thirty and stuck in a dead-end insurance job, and her relationship status is holding at uncommitted. With unbearably perfect sisters and a mother who won’t let her forget it, Dani has two go-tos for consolation: maple scones and a blog in which she pours her heart out to her celebrity idol. He’s the man her father never was, no boyfriend will ever be—and not so impossible a dream as one might think. When Dani learns that he’s planning a fund-raising event where the winning amateur athlete gets a walk-on in his new film, she decides to trade pastries and self-doubt for running shoes and a sexy British trainer with adorable knees.
But when Dani’s plot takes an unexpected twist, she realizes that her happy ending might have to be improvised—and that proving herself to her idol isn’t half as important as proving something to herself.
So! I’m not going to lie, I was weary. I very much felt this could go either way, and here’s why. I am just not going to like any story where the idea is “find yourself through weight loss” or, worse, “find validation through weight loss.” I am absolutely not cool with fat shaming, and I know a weight loss story can go there pretty quickly. Thank goodness, Dear Dwayne, With Love is absolutely not like that. Her weight loss is for the competition, and Dani is very confident in her skin both before and after.
The characters MAKE this story!
They’re so. effing. quirky. I really feel like I don’t see enough quirky characters in adult novels! It made this so much more fun and such an effortless read.
Danielle Steele (with an e, that’s important to her) is our narrator, and I freaking love her. She’s a little nutty, maybe a lot nutty, and her obsession with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is very prevalent in her adult life. This felt like it could be super sad, especially given her tendency to imagine scenarios in which the two interact, but it’s not. It doesn’t come across as pathetic so much as… delightfully idiosyncratic. You can’t not love Dani.
Dani’s mom is the other real star of the show for me. We only see her through her faxes to Dani, and the fax chapters make me SO happy. She’s obsessed with aliens, grows marijuana, sells magic wands. And OH YEAH, she named all three of her daughters after romance authors. She’s just so solidly hilarious. I adore her.
The male love interest is a litttttttle too perfect for me? I like him for Dani, but I really need my main characters to have flaws and he has not a one. Still, this didn’t hinder my reading, and I swooned over their budding relationship.
Side characters like Dani’s sisters and coworkers are amazing color. And The Rock feels like a character? Because we see so many fake conversations between him and Dani, and I love him too.
Dear Dwayne, With Love, pulls off something I didn’t know I would like quite well!
There are many chapters taken up solely by emails, blog comments, faxes, letters to The Rock. I didn’t know I would like these chapters, but I love them! The faxes from Mommy (that’s what they call her) are some of my favorites. The letters to The Rock are fantastic.
Aside from this, the writing is just fun. Easy. Eliza Gordon makes it look easy. It reminds me a little of Sophie Kinsella. The same hilarious but well-written, quirky stories.
I wish I read more like this! Dear Dwayne, With Love is fun and fantastic and you should read it.
(You KNOW I wasn’t going to talk about The Rock and not include this picture.)
Each of these photos links to the IG post, show these people some love!
*I don’t own any of the photos used for aesthetics in this post. Each photo links to where I found it!*