Dear Dwayne With Love

I Love Love Love Dear Dwayne, With Love

Dear Dwayne, With Love by Eliza Gordon

Published by Lake Union Publishing, January 23rd 2018

Genre: Adult, Romance, Fiction

Pages: 380

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.

Dear Dwayne With Love

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.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

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.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

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.

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

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!*

Stop talking sh*t on chick lit

Stop Talking Sh*t on Chick Lit

Various chick lit

If you’re anything like me, you stalk comments and reviews on books you already love. I almost never consult Goodreads before having read a book, but I always do after. I love reading comments about my favorite books. I love to see how a novel that changed my life changed someone else’s as well. I love to see why some people didn’t connect with it, and think to myself about how wrong they are (kidding. Kind of. 30% kidding). I genuinely believe that even the snarkiest of reviews can be beautiful, because here is a person who really wanted to love a book. Yet, in my shameless stalking of some of my favorites, I see a genre that people do not want to love. People write this genre off as trivial and often impractical, even when they end up enjoying one of its books. This genre is chick lit.

“But it’s silly.”

The word thrown around most often is silly. Chick lit is silly. You see it with the people who hated the book: “I could never get into a plot so silly.” And, unfortunately, with the people who liked the book: “I didn’t know I could get into something so silly!” So, why? Where did this idea come from, that chick lit is frivolous nonsense? I believe it’s the same stigma surrounding romantic comedy movies, bt dubs. It’s a rare man willing to say he likes romantic comedies, and I think it’s the same thing. That’s girl stuff. Girl stuff is silly, and the girls who like it are silly.

“I’m not one of those girls.”

I get this from another line I saw a lot. Also, sadly, used by both haters and lovers of the book. “I’m not the kind of girl who likes this stuff.” I will skip over talking about how annoying it is that so many people say girls when they mean women. That’s not a rant for this post. What bothers me most is that there seems to be a common consensus that you have to be a certain kind of woman to enjoy a certain kind of story. Specifically, a love story.

And who is it? This despicable character we refer to as that kind of girl. Does she drive a Jetta and drink Starbucks? Is she a flighty, gossip-y bitch? I bet she is. She’s just one step up from the magazine readers, right? Right. She’s silly.

Where did this sense of superiority come from? Shouldn’t we just be happy that people are reading, regardless of content? Why do you, holding your non-fiction book about feline aids get to stick your nose up at the silly girl reading chick lit? You don’t. Not everyone is interested in the same shit.

I hate to say that I see this a lot among women, but I do. In person and on the internet. Especially academic and/or professional women who have worked very hard and earned the right to take themselves very seriously. I feel you. I respect you. I am you. We have to stop judging other women for their choices, because that’s really what this is about. We cannot continue to laugh haughtily at the silly girls who haven’t done the same things we have with our lives.

“Don’t be so dramatic.”

Last thing. Not on the word silly, but the word dramatic. “I don’t like these books because there’s too much drama.” Stop using drama as an insult. A story best have drama, or you don’t have a story. Whether the drama is that she can’t get her partner to call her back or that a serial killer wants to unzip her skin and wear her like a little coat, it’s important. And more importantly, it’s valid. Your love for either is valid.