Another Review at MyShelf.Com

She's the Girl

by Susan M. Brooks

      Thirty-something Natalie Dresden had a grade school idea of what love is. To her, love is spelled in capital letters and is more ideal than idea. After her current boyfriend breaks off their relationship because his therapist said that he must not be in love, Natalie packs her bags and heads out from LA on a long distance trek to find her high school sweetheart. She and her concept of love are, in fact, on the road to ruin, or rather Ruune, North Dakota (pronounced the same way).

When I opted to review Susan M. Brooks' first novel, She’s the Girl, it was Ruune, North Dakota that caught my eye because I live in the eastern part of that state. Ruune, however, does not exist, but, still, I wondered at Brooks’ use of North Dakota as a destination for her main character and how it would fit into plot.

What unfolded in a couple hundred pages was a Cohen Brothers' view of love, complete with oddball characters, revealing authentic human stories. Like the films Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, and even O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Brooks throws Natalie into contact with bigger-than-life characters. First, there is Trina and her dog P (Pee, you figure it out) who divert Natalie to a maximum security prison where Trina gets married to an inmate and Natalie is her bridesmaid (the first time for both!). Then, off they go to Las Vegas where they spend the night at a lesbian bar run by a drag queen! They meet a gay dance instructor who's in love with the drag queen, a young male bartender who woos old women for their money, and finally an eccentric household in Wyoming that has far too many secrets. All of these characters have their own unique spin on what love is.

There were times I wanted to throttle Natalie at her own naiveté and at other times I cheered when she got life right. I laughed. I cried. I loved each character. Plus, I was treated to Brooks's beautiful prose. It was crisp, real, sometimes raw, but often lyrical. This woman can write! She's the Girl is an excellent first novel. I highly recommend it.

The Book

Zumaya Boundless
September 2007
Trade paperback
1934135607 / 978-1934135600
Fiction, Literary / romance
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NOTE: Deaf Characters

The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2007
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook.
© 2007