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Bet Me is a contemporary romance novel written by Jennifer Crusie. Crusie had never explored that genre, and she was convinced she would find it difficult to wade through that types of books.
To her surprise, she discovered that she enjoyed the genre, so much so that she became a literary critic for the genre and began writing romance novels herself. She finished her initial draft of Bet Me in There was no interest from the publishing industry, and Crusie put the manuscript aside. Martin's Press to release longer single-title novels. The book was released February 10, To further support the book, Crusie embarked on a national book-signing tour. This was a nod to her online fans, who had named themselves "The Cherries".
Critic Kimberly Baldus sees the cherry "as a wink from author to readers and back again, creating a sense of a community forged through shared knowledge and insights about the novel". The novel begin as the heroine, Minerva "Min" Dobbs, a chubby, year-old actuary, is dumped by her boyfriend, David. He is upset that she has refused to have sex with him; she's irritated that she is now without a date to her sister's upcoming wedding.
Min retreats to one corner of the bar to be comforted by her two best friends, Bonnie and Liza. At the other end of the bar, David finds acquaintance Calvin "Cal" Morrisey and his friends. Cal has a reputation as a ladies' man and someone full of luck, who has never lost a bet. Unbeknownst to Cal, Min has overheard the conversation. She accepts the invitation to dinner and insists he hand over the money he earned from fulfilling the bet. They are not impressed with each other - she is upset about the bet, he thinks she is grumpy.
In much of mainstream American culture, it is unusual to see an overweight female as the object of romantic of sexual interest. The larger the woman, the more likely it is that she will be ridiculed rather than embraced. Crusie's novels depart from this stereotype; her heroines are not necessarily young and thin and physically perfect. Rather than present her body as an object to be viewed, Crusie focuses on feelings, gestures, and reactions.
Readers can relate to the conflicting descriptions, as the characters' debate reflects society's inability to agree on a single acceptable body size. Although she is not morbidly obese, Min expends significant mental energy worrying about her weight and her desirability. This is exacerbated by her mother, who constantly stresses that Min must be thin in order to catch and keep a husband, just as society reinforces the idea that the ideal woman is thin. Her attempt to cook low-fat food is a disaster, replaced by a gourmet meal.
The hero, Cal, is described as very attractive, and from the beginning of the book Min doubts his attraction to her. Crusie allows Min to question her long-held beliefs about her own attractiveness as Cal shows that he is not only not disgusted by her body, but he is actually turned on by her enjoyment of food.
By the end of the novel, Min has chosen to revel in her shape and gather a new wardrobe that flaunts her body instead of hides it. Min's self-reinvention extends also to her underwear. In one scene, Nanette scolds Min for wearing white cotton underwear, because only sexy, lacy underwear will attract and keep a husband.
Crusie appears to give credence to this theory, describing Cal's "light-headed" moments when he catches a glimpse of Min's new red lace bra, before shattering it when Cal tells - and shows - Min that he finds her equally attractive in scruffy sweats as in fancy lace. Cal is also shown as fighting against stereotypical gender norms. His acquaintances believe him to be a womanizer and expect him to continue to act in that manner.
Although he finds the bets revolving around his contact with Min distasteful, he is constantly pressured to fulfill them. Min stands up for him and his choices. Cal is not her savior; they are equals. Romantic Times reviewer Jill M. Smith gave the novel 4. The editors of Crimson Romance named the book one of the Best Romance Novels of all time for its "memorable characters [and] heartfelt and humorous look at how two different people can find their common ground"".
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Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
REVIEW: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Bet Me represents my first foray into the world of contemporary romance. You can buy the book with these links. Min, of course, overhears the bet, though unfortunately not Cal turning it down. Misunderstandings, mayhem and chicken masalas ensue. A couple of reviews back I kind of laid into Dragon Actually for not taking its fun seriously enough. I know this was probably a bit wanky of me but frothy is not the same as superficial and frivolous is not the same as silly. Bet Me struck me as an archetypally seriously funny book.
Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love. Already have an account?