Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Stork has a Sense of Humor

Personally, and this is really just a personal taste, I generally don't gravitate towards pregnancy stories. Though the stories always end up with the hero and heroine totally in love and into the idea of their family, I'm sometimes hesitant to read the story in which the baby is used as a plot device to move the two characters together. And I've given them a chance. I really have. I've read different scenarios too. I've read about the accidental pregnancy, the one where the heroine strictly wants the baby and doesn't let the hero know, and the 'other man's baby' angle. But for some reason, I've never really warmed up to any of them, despite reading familiar authors. I always get the feeling that the baby was used too much as the pushing factor for the couple to get together. And I never really like it.

With that said, let's talk about Erin McCarthy's The Pregnancy Test.

Having discovered McCarthy early on when I forged into this genre, I had read everything of hers except for The Pregnancy Test for reasons I've explained above. I was content to never pick it up. The story didn't even seem all that interesting. But I was once again in that predicament in which I had nothing to read and nothing on the shelves of Borders seemed interesting. So, I decided to go with a fallback author (McCarthy) and bought the one that I hadn't read yet. Wary, I didn't expect much. Well, I certainly didn't expect to laugh out loud.

Mandy Keeling is not having the best time. She's recently unemployed, lost the guy she was with, and found out that she's pregnant. She needs a job. Fast. With the baby on the way, she needs the health insurance. On the way to the interview, she gets morning sickness in the elevator and almost throws up on the shoes of a guy. And as fate would have it, the guy ends up to be her new boss. Damien Sharpton isn't nicknamed 'Demon' for no reason. Prickly and demanding, the guy has no life but his business. He likes it that way. He's faced his own horrors in the past and now has no drive to focus on anything but his work. Having Mandy has his assistant is an interesting set up. He never sees her, but she's so good at the job, she's able to anticipate his every need. If only she wasn't avoiding him like the plague. When Damien tells Mandy that she's required to accompany him on a trip, sparks fly...

The plot is mediocre. Really nothing special. The 'demons' of Damien's past is a bit soap opera-y for me, but I can suspend my disbelief and understand the character's pain and lingering anger. Mandy's story is all about the pregnancy. Nothing else.

But what really made this book stand out for me was the humor. Damien, who's the surly, no joking type of hero ended up to have hilarious moments. When he reads Mandy's Everything Guide to Pregnancy and discovers the chapter on sexual intercourse made me laugh out loud. His horror at learning that oral sex could lead to an embolism for the baby, the fact that people have the fear of the baby 'watching', his competitive bingo skills, and everything in between really was laugh out loud. I was surprised how McCarthy was able to write the super serious guy into one that was so caring you just want to hug him. I liked how he was really into the baby: learning the developing stages, showing up for the sonogram, and reading every baby book he can get his hands on. The fact that Damien was so involved with the baby was a nice read. Not once was he feeling, "This isn't my baby and therefore not my problem." In fact, he got depressed when thinking that the baby wasn't his and him wanting to be able to refer to Mandy's baby as their baby. 

All in all, the book is peppered with funny conversations. The characters and plot might not be the strongest out there, but this is the fun kind of book to bring to the beach or to lay out under the warm sun for a tan where you just want some light reading and a couple of chuckles, nothing too serious or action gripping. 

3.5 out of 5: Funny moments. Plot and characters not really strong but I like the way the hero was written. Straight forward story, not too many dimensions to the characters, but a fun read if you're looking for some light laughs. 

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