Friday, June 17, 2011

Goodnight Tweetheart

EDIT:  This isn't technically a romance book, now that I know.  Still:

True to romance-book style, when you open Goodnight Tweetheart, the first page is a little snippet from the book (usually right before the first steamy scene between the hero and heroine):

MarkBaynard:  R u a Twitter virgin?

Abby_Donovan:  This is my first time.  But you're not being very gentle with me.

MarkBaynard:  What can I say?  I like it rough.  So how did you end up here?  Attention span too short for Facebook?

Abby_Donovan:  I didn't like the answers to those silly Facebook quizzes.  They kept telling me I was the love child of Marge Simpson and Marilyn Manson.

MarkBaynard:  Maybe you're just secretly one of those people who would rather have Followers rather than Friends.

Abby_Donovan:  Yes, it's part of my diabolical plot to achieve world domination...So how is Twitter different from Facebook?

Mark Baynard:  Twitter is the perpetual cocktail party where everyone is talking at once but nobody is saying anything.

Abby_Donovan:  Then why are YOU here?

MarkBaynard:  Because no one will invite me to their cocktail parties.

This book really got me thinking, which is weird because it's a romance book.  I don't read them because I want some grand truth about the world I didn't know before.  I read them because they're funny (or the ones I choose usually are), I love a good love story (because reading romance is the same as watching a chick-flick), and because they don't require much thought, attention, or anything else.  It's pure escapism.

Goodnight TweetheartGoodreads Synopsis:
Abigail Donovan has a lot of stuff she should be doing. Namely writing her next novel. A bestselling author who is still recovering from a near Pulitzer Prize win and the heady success that follows Oprah’s stamp of approval, she is stuck at Chapter Five and losing confidence daily. But when her publicist signs her up for a Twitter account, she’s intrigued. What’s all the fuss?

Taken under the wing of one of her Twitter followers, “MarkBaynard"—a quick witted, quick-typing professor on sabbatical—Abby finds it easy to put words out into the world 140 characters at a time. And once she gets a handle on tweets, retweets, direct messages, hashtags, and trends, she starts to feel unblocked in writing and in life. After all, why should she be spending hours in her apartment staring at her TweetDeck and fretting about her stalled career when Mark is out there traveling the world and living?

Or is he?

I'm going to give away the ending, so if you don't want the book ruined (but honestly, how many people go out and buy books recommended via somebody else's blog?  The fact I got Five Flavors of Dumb for just that reason notwithstanding.  It's been the only one so far, but I digress), I suggest you not read this beyond this point.

For those of you still tuned it, halfway through the book, you find out Mark Baynard's terrible secret is that he has lymphoma.  He hasn't been traveling.  He's been in a hospital bed.

They still continue talking after Mark reveals the truth, but the relationship changes big time.  Mark reveals more about himself, and has one more stike at a new clinical cure.  If it goes well, he'll kick this thing.  If not, three strikes, he's out.  As in dead.

Right before his last experimental cure, Mark's sister contacts Abby.  He's about to go in for that last treatment the next day.

After several hours of looking through hospital's that treat his kind of lymphoma, Abby finds he was staying in a hospital a few blocks away from her apartment.  The entire time.

Abby finds him in the hospital.  No matter what, she would be with him whether he lived or died the next day.

The first words he says to her when they meet in real life:  "Hello, Tweetheart."

And that's how the book ends.

The author didn't reveal whether he lived or died.  Part of me is mad.  Thus only 4 stars on Goodreads.  The other part understands.  If he died, the book would be a wall-banger, and could never be considered a romance book.  If he survived, the book would be cheesy.  (Yes, cheesiness is indicative of romance, but bear with me.)

Isn't it better that the end remains suspended in that moment?  Personally, I think he does live--but I'm a blind optimist.  But does it matter?  Not really.  The book is over.  The story is over.

This is the first time I've read a romance book that was a "Happy for Now," rather than a "Happily Ever After."  (Although, it could be...)

I mean ever.  I didn't even know a book could be considered a romance if it wasn't a Happily Ever After until a few weeks ago.  I probably didn't know this because I read a lot of historical Regency and before romances, where marriage (thus Happily Ever After) was indicative of the genre.  This was, obviously, a contemporary.

Romance books are not supposed to make me think.  This book did.  Again, I could only give it four stars.  But it was a good book.  Really good book.  But not one I'll re-read for a LOONG time.

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