Warning: Is She the One? by Bob Boog contains some foul language, discussions of nudity and sex, and issues encountered by mixed-race couples. If you have problems with such topics or otherwise wish to avoid them, proceed with caution.
As promised, my post today is more upbeat and not as sad as yesterday’s post about my cat dying. Today I’m bringing you another book review, this time of a romantic comedy. Admittedly, I don’t often enter the romance area of literature, not even romantic comedy (although I have been known to, on a rare occasion, dabble in erotica). However, I made an exception to review Is She the One?: A Partly True Romantic Comedy by Bob Boog.
As “a partly true romantic comedy” indicates, this book follows a (probably) partly-fictionalized version of Bob Boog as he attempts to find “the one” and settle down into married life. Bob is a 27-year-old real estate agent living in Valencia. Young with a good job and living in a fairly-populated area, finding “the one” shouldn’t be too hard, right? Even with all these marks in his favor, it’s still harder than you might think. However, Bob’s luck is about to turn around.
A psychic at an open house informs Bob that he’s about to meet the love of his life, his future wife. According to the psychic, she’s a dark-haired beauty who doesn’t care about the material things and has the strength of a tiger. Within a year, the psychic claims, he will meet her. To Bob, it’s too good to be true. After all, “the one” which she has described matches his tastes almost exactly; his future wife even fits his “Goldilocks rule” (i.e. no more blondes). However, the psychic gives him two very important pieces of advice that he must follow in order to meet this woman: he must be proactive in finding her and he must make himself worthy of whom he is looking for.
The next 136 pages takes the reader on Bob’s adventures leading to him meeting his future wife. He goes through multiple serious relationships, each one ending for one reason or another, goes to bars with his friend Joel and sleeps around, and, finally, meets a woman that he might want to keep around: Roxanne. She’s a feisty, direct, no-bullshit Guatemalan immigrant who knows what she wants and how to get it. They become good friends, they like each other’s families, and—for the most part—they get along well. The only problem: is she “the one” for Bob? And is he “the one” for her?
Boog’s work is a quick, funny read that you won’t want to put down until you’ve finished reading it. The end result is no real mystery, but the journey kept me engaged and enthralled enough that I wanted to know what becomes of Bob and Roxanne. Boog’s writing style is simplistic, easy enough for any reader to follow, but also masterful enough to be comedic on purpose. (Trust me, it’s easy to make a reader laugh by accident; it’s not as easy to make them laugh when you want them to.) He does use foul language but it’s to the work’s benefit; it adds an extra layer of humor and a more realistic feel to the narrative without throwing in cussing unnecessarily, which often bogs down one’s writing.
The memoir feel of Boog’s writing blurs the line between fact and fiction so that, to be honest, I don’t know what made this romantic comedy “partly” true. I would have liked to understand better what, if any, of this actually happened but, in a way, it’s best that I don’t know. I mean, the best part of “partly true” stories is the mystery and the lack of boundaries between fact and fiction, right? In the end, it doesn’t matter if any of it was true. I felt a connection to Bob and Roxanne (although my connection to Roxanne was much stronger) and I cared about how their story ended, and that’s all that matters.
I went back and forth on my feelings towards Bob. Sometimes I thought he was a perfectly nice guy, sometimes I thought he was a self-centered jerk, and other times I just thought that he was average, that he was, well, just human. I think that Bob at the end of the book is a more grown-up version of Bob in the beginning, and that’s one of this work’s greatest strengths. Most of the characters grow and flesh out, whether it’s because they actually change, as Bob does, or because Boog slowly exposes us to the defining features of their lives, as he does with Roxanne.
Joel, though…he’s a jerk from start to finish, and jerk is the mild version of the word I want to use. Still, he serves as comic relief and a foil to Bob, so his rather two-dimensional personality didn’t bother me. (I was giddy when I found out that big playboy Joel who comes to work with a hangover is actually a Star Trek and Star Wars fanboy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fangirl for many things, but there’s just something about learning that a jerk like that is secretly geeky that makes me laugh.)
The interactions between Bob and Roxanne are, by far, the glue that holds the book together. While I really appreciated seeing Bob’s efforts in between seeing the psychic and meeting Roxanne, I also feel that the book really starts once he and Roxanne meet at a nightclub. Their day-to-day life together is so sweet, so real, and so funny that I would kill to have a relationship that good. Sure, they had their fights and disagreements, but who doesn’t? It just shows that they’re human and that they don’t hide their feelings from each other.
As a romance novel, the book is a little cliché. I didn’t exactly see anything groundbreaking for what I’ve heard about the genre, although I really appreciate that Boog skips out on a lot of the melodrama and the guys speaking poetically. That’s part of the reason why I usually avoid romance novels; it’s too cheesy, too worn-out, too unrealistic. Boog, fortunately, side-steps that issue all together. That’s not to say that the book is without its own cheesy moments. At times, the book grows a little too preachy in regards to how love should be and how to tell if someone is “the one.” Still, I expect those sorts of things from the genre and, after rolling my eyes, I was able to move on without getting caught up on it. Mind you, the questions which Boog raises about romantic love are important; I just wish that they hadn’t been overtly stated so often.
All in all, Is She the One? is a good read for singles looking for “the one,” or even readers in committed relationships who don’t know how to tell if they’re with “the one.” The book isn’t necessarily a cerebral read, with the exception of the number “40” being used often, which is a literary device indicating a lot of something (think 40 days and 40 nights from the Bible). Even if that was just a happy coincidence based on facts, I found myself smiling at it. However, this book doesn’t need to be cerebral. It does its job—telling the story of a man finding true love—very well. More importantly, it caught and kept my attention immediately, and I’m very eager to see where Boog’s next book takes us.
Speaking of which, Is She the One? also includes a preview of Boog’s next romantic comedy, Love Isn’t Easy. Almost immediately there’s a tie-in with a loose end from Is She the One?, one which I found especially amusing, and so you’ll want to make sure you read that sneak peek as well.
Right now, the Kindle version is not up on Amazon. I will let you know when it is available, or you can go to Bob Boog’s website, www.3funnybooks.com, and watch for when he posts the link to it there. While you’re there, be sure to check out his other books based on his experience as a real estate agent. Boog also writes songs (can also be found under Robert Boog) as a hobby, songs which you can find at www.i-songz.com and www.reverbnation.com/boog4.