Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
Choosing a book to review can be a very tricky business. Sometimes you’re tickled out of your mind by a wonderful book, and the next one may prompt you to think you’ve lost your mind entirely. Sometimes they start out one way and make a U-turn to go in the other. It’s seldom guaranteed, especially with a first-time author. I didn’t quite know what I was getting into with this book, but…
Like many books, the first third inspires you to want to throw it against the wall. But if you hang in, you may be rewarded by a turn around that will make you laugh and/or cry (in the appropriate places, that is) and you’ll be happy you read the entire thing.
To my mind, The Hating Game is a tad too long, especially after slogging through the first third of the book. One gets tired of whiny, self-centered, young women who repeat themselves, page after page after page. Such was the situation with this book. I truly wanted to strangle Lucinda (Lucy) Hutton, especially as the first-person narrative is her voice. She knows everything, except what she doesn’t know.
To be fair, the position in which she currently finds herself – executive assistant to the co-CEO of the publishing company formed from the merger of two exceptionally diverse publishing companies – is not exactly the one she’d thought it would be. Lucy began with Gamin Publishing, which was geared to women’s books, while Bexley Books was oriented toward he-man stuff. Without the merger, they’d have folded like a handful of playing cards.
Each CEO brought their own executive assistant with them, and once the new company was established in its glossy new home, the assistants – Lucy for Helene Pascal of Gamin, and Joshua Templeman for Richard Bexley of the, um, Bexleys – are given desks in the same circular foyer, opposite each other. It is instant antipathy. Or is it, really?
In addition to being very petite, Lucy is bright, friendly, and dresses in colorful tasteful clothing, while the tall, dark, handsome and muscular Josh is more buttoned down than a skyscraper full of button-down shirts! And so, they play The Hating Game. They also play The Staring Game,The Mirror Game, The Or Something Game, Truth or Dare, and finally, The Starting Over Game. Lucy is the narrator of this first person jaunt through the ups and downs of publishing as experienced in B&G. During the first few pages, we learn just how very much Lucy HATES Josh, as she tells us very frequently. Plus she has contrived all of her passwords to conform to the IHATEJOSHUA4EV@ format. She presumes that he does the same. And this just goes on and on and on…
. . . until the middle third of the book when a team-building exercise of Paintball goes somewhat awry, leaving Lucy in the unwanted care of Josh, who brings in his physician brother to help care for her. With such close encounters, they become a tad more friendly to each other. But it isn’t until the final third of the book when Josh invites Lucy to his brother’s wedding that we finally get to the meat of the book, as they continue to learn about each other – and themselves.The book suddenly grows up and becomes an entirely different story.
The ending will either prompt you to cry or throw the book against the wall. I’d have preferred the big scene close to the end to have less profanity (it was a public place in which it unraveled itself) but Lucy did make some valid points in her tirade. The most important thing was that finally Lucy and Josh could see and appreciate each other for who they really were – not dependent on anyone else for validity.
First and foremost, Kelly is a reader, then a writer and editor. She adores Regency-set novels, and cozy mysteries. Every now and then, however, she finds something else to enjoy if it has a great premise with characters who belong in there, and fabulous writing! She writes under her own name, as well as her pen-name, Hetty St. James.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.