Saturday, August 25, 2012

Persy -- Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen

12-year-old Violet Gustafson is a bit bitter, a bit pessimistic, and a bit jaded. After the messy divorce of her parents and watching her father remarry, have twins, and steadily get richer and richer, she has sworn off love entirely. Her mother, on the other hand, is determined to find "The One". While taking care of her five-year-old sister Rosie, Violet also has to take care of sorting through her mother's suitors by whatever means necessary, but they all seem to be losers.
Enough is enough, she decides, when her mother introduces her and Rosie to her latest boyfriend, Dudley Wiener. If his name wasn't bad enough, he also likes puns. With the help of her best friend Phoebe and the cute boy from Winnipeg Jean-Paul, she must get rid of Dudley and find the perfect man for her mother. And the only candidate is George Clooney himself.
I was kind of doubtful going into Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen. Page 14 and I was already wishing I could ditch the stupid thing, but I dutifully kept reading, and... well, I'm glad I did.
This is one of the few books that make me suck up my pride and admit that I like. Y'see, once I'm predisposed to hate something, I have to hate it, even if I do like it. I just can't admit to switching sides. But sometimes, something is so good, that I'll suck it up and proclaim the world that it is amazing (Life As We Knew It, comes to mind). "Dear George Clooney" is one of those things.
While at first Violet seems a bit silly and unoriginal, she rapidly became one of my favorite main characters of literature. She's outspoken (like, really), resourceful, and nerdy. Three of the best qualities in an MC. Her little sister Rosie is pretty darn adorable too, and Phoebe, the sidekick, is appropriately cool. And don't get me started on how much I like Jean-Paul, and trust me, it's hard to like someone named Jean-Paul.
I'm not sure exactly when I switched sides on this book. I think I started admitting the book's likeability when Violet calls Jean-Paul a grapefruit (in French). But I think I actually gave into the dark side when Violet breaks Ashley's nose. And I totally fell in love when she crashes a golf cart into George Clooney's car.
Now I kind of want to read it again.
But anyway, I'm not normally a fan of the contemporary-realistic-humor-genreless books, but every once in a while I find one I really, really like, and it's usually because of the same reasons: hilarious and awesome main character; strange but possible adventures; and brilliant character growth. Just when you start to think the MC has gone a little overboard, the MC herself realizes she's gone too far. It's almost like you grow along with the main character.
This is Susin Nielsen's second novel, and her first is actually set in the same world about a character who makes a brief cameo at the end of "Dear George Clooney". And I have to read it. And I will. Ha.
You might like this if you: like books like Audrey, Wait! (Robin Benway) and Lia's Guide To Winning the Lottery (Keren David); love main characters with true spunk, not that crap that passes for spunk in the literary and television world; if you're looking for a quick, enjoyable read; or if you're trying to get George Clooney's attention.

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