Marcie's Reviews > Play Dirty

Play Dirty by Sandra Brown
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's review
Jun 24, 08

I used to really love mindless romance novels of the Sandra Brown/ Elizabeth Lowell ilk. But any time I've picked one up in the last 10 years, I've thrown it across the room in disgust, resolving to write the "intelligent woman's romance novel." Oh, wait, Diana Gabaldon has already done that, many times. But every once in a while, I check one out from the library (I wouldn't actually pay money for it), to see what's going on in the World of Romance these days.

I'm glad I came across this one, I actually finished it. Maybe it's summer, maybe I'm mellowing, I don't know. But this book, as stupid as it was in many parts, brings to light some very interesting aspects of "desire." Like how difficult it would be to perform sexually when you know the other person has no sexual interest in you...

The Laws of Romance say you have to suspend reality, especially in the bedroom, so it's really interesting that Brown chose not to...especially in the bedroom.

The premise: Dallas Cowboys quarterback spends 5 years in prison convicted on gambling, throwing a game, etc., becomes the most hated man in Texas, can't find a job. Paraplegic airline president will give him a million dollars to impregnate his wife, the old-fashioned way, if he signs a contract swearing him to secrecy. The paraplegic guy is subconsciously punishing his wife for driving the car in the car wreck that made him a paraplegic. And she feels guilty about driving the car. So, we end up with two people forced to be together in bed, with strict parameters in place, with one goal in mind, impregnation. This is the coolest little "anti-romance" romance novel.

Unfortunately, almost everything else about it sucks -- like how miraculously it comes to light at the end that he didn't throw the big game, the receiver just simply dropped the ball. Huh? This wouldn't have come out during the trial? This wouldn't have been realized by any moron viewing tape? Okay, Sandra Brown doesn't know much about football -- how can she live in Texas and not know football? Wow, this stuff irritates me. It's just a romance novel. Let it go.

One really fine part sticks in my mind: He gives the girl a star-shaped charm with a diamond in the center, to represent the spark of life that was the baby she miscarried. Now how romantic is that. And five pages from the end, they share their first kiss, and on the last page, they enjoy their first date. Cool.

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