I don’t normally read romance books. They are like a snack, like eating a whole bag of pretzels while watching a movie and how you chew and swallow those pretzels without barely tasting, without barely realizing that you’re eating.
I like to linger inside books. I like rich and complex characters, and writing that opens up, pulls me in and holds me there, tight within the story.
Still, every once in a while, a good romance is exactly what I need. Such as earlier this week, when I was cozied up on the couch for two days with a sinus infection headache from hell.
So I did what any writer and avid reader would do. I huddled beneath the electric blanket, gobbled up goldenseal root capsules and began reading this:
The book starts off well. It’s fast and well-paced. Until it isn’t. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The story, written in first-person, centers on Janie, a quirky redhead with a talent for trivia (and these trivia updates are some of the most fascinating parts of the book). She’s infatuated with a security guard at work whom she’s nicknamed Sir McHotpants.
Well! She’s soon downsized from her job, the very day she finds out that her live-in boyfriend has been cheating on her, and guess who comes to her rescue?
Yep, Mr. Hotpants himself. He escorts her out of the building and over to his life. It doesn’t happen that quickly but the circumstances are a tad hard to believe, for not only does Mr. McHotpants (whose name she soon learns is Quinn), rescue her from a bad nightclub situation, but he also offers her a job, a new place to live and, guess what? He’s also rich! (Spoiler alert) It turns out that he’s been her boss the whole friggin time.
So yes, whatever. It’s implausible as all heck but still fun, or for the most part. Because the irritating thing is the writing, which goes on and on and on, when most writers would have seen fit to close the sentence when they were ahead.
That, however, could be a personal style choice. The bigger issue is the constant reminder of what Janie looks like, the constant reminder of how hot Quinn is, the constant reminder of the sexual tension that smolders between them, along with the constant reminder of how insecure this makes Janie feel (for, you see, she fears she isn’t good enough for him, blah, blah, blah).
This goes on for way, way too long. Like half the book too long. And when they finally (whew, finally!) consummate the relationship, it’s a huge letdown. The author works up the readers for a few hundred pages and then, wham, no satisfying or juicy sex scene.
What bothers me most about Neanderthal Seeks Human is how it centers on the worries of a woman who thinks she isn’t good enough for a man because of the way she looks or acts instead of what I’d truly like to see: A woman character empowered to the point of thinking, loudly and clearly: the hell with this. If he doesn’t like me the way I am, that’s his big loss.
Wouldn’t that be a great book?
Yet, I can see how Neanderthal Seeks Human could easily appeal to a lot of readers, and especially women readers. I’m simply not one of them.
Still, it was a good book to get me through my sinus headache days, and for that I am quite grateful. And, I must admit, the ending picked up, once Janie and Quinn finally had sex and got all of that longing and tension out of the way. In fact, the last few chapters (except the Epilogue), were some of the best in the book.
I give Neanderthal Seeks Human three and a half stars and recommend it to anyone looking for a fast read while traveling or caught in a low point and seeking a little spark, a little fun, to help pull them out.