Sarra's Reviews > 20 Times a Lady

20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak
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Apr 02, 08

bookshelves: review-copy, 2008

“Everybody’s got a number -- in fact, everyone’s got a few numbers…. There’s the one we tell our friends, the one we tell our spouses, the one we tell our parents, etc. But only we know what the true number is… How many people have you slept with?”

20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak is the story of Delilah Darling who is obsessed with her number. A recent article in the New York Post claims the average American has slept with 10.5 people, while Delilah's number is almost twice that at nineteen. Determined to impose a limit, she decides her magic number is twenty and she will stop there, even though that leaves her only one more chance to find the perfect man. When she accidentally sleeps with the most awful man she can imagine she resigns herself to a life of celibacy until, inspired by a conversation with her grandfather, she decides to look up all her old boyfriends and find the hidden gem among them.

Bosnak's road novel across fifty states in search of “the one that got away” has its moments. Most of the encounters with Delilah's exes are amusing, although a few are a complete disaster. Delilah is aided in her hunt by a hunky part-time private investigator neighbor named Colin, who could turn out to be a love interest if she wasn’t so focused on ex-boyfriends; Eva, a well-dressed Yorkshire Terrier, who she picks up early on in her quest as a conversation starter; and best friend, Michelle, the lone voice of sanity in this vast wilderness of crazy schemes. Michelle does her best to keep Delilah grounded and bails her out when necessary, which unfortunately turns out to be often.

Although the premise is simple and should work, Delilah is so shallow that it is difficult for the reader to muster any empathy for the character. Bosnak tries too hard to make each encounter more “out there” than the last, resulting in one-dimensional caricatures rather than a cast of interesting secondary characters. The sub-plot of the sister’s wedding, which started out with so much promise, reads as though thrown together at the last minute simply to put Delilah in place for the climax.

There are some really great scenes that are worth the price of admission, including Eva's adoption and Delilah's explanation to Colin of just why she needs the whereabouts of the men on her list. 20 Times a Lady is a good option for a beach read but may leave the reader looking for something more substantial as a backup.

Karyn Bosnak is the author of Save Karyn, the book about the popular Save Karyn website and the pioneer of Internet panhandling developed to dig her way out of credit card debt. 20 Times a Lady is her first foray into fiction.
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