Monday, December 17, 2001

The Story of Me

Advocate (Blayne Cooper)
Writers Club Press

Tall, beautiful, straight (not to mention rather antisocial) Randi, a driver's education instructor, can't quite believe all that's happened to her in the last four weeks. First, she was stalked by an unknown stranger. The "stalker" turned out to be Mac, an attractive, petite woman from one of her classes. Mac needs Randi's help. Mac was dumped by her girlfriend, Sandra. The gold-digging Sandra used Mac has a stepping stone on the way to her brother, the doctor. Mac knows that Randi also has reason to hate Sandra and Mac has devised the perfect revenge for both of them. Mac wants to attend the next family gathering in Nevada and present Randi as her girlfriend.

Despite thinking Mac might be crazy and not too bright (she failed Randi's class, although it turns out to have been the same week Sandra left her). Randi has agreed to help extract revenge from Sandra. When the date for the reunion is changed the two must begin a cross country trek by car that turns into a strange, wild romp. These two women are like oil and vinegar as they engage in a range of miscommunications as well as intentionally irritating behaviors. Indeed Randi even subtitles a portion of the trip "Thema & Louise had it easy." In the midst of ridiculous events, Randi and Mac draw closer to their destination and to one another. After all, add a few spices to oil & vinegar and shake and you have a lovely salad dressing.

Nothing is safe from Advocate (AKA Blayne Cooper)'s observations and most of them will bring a smile, if not an out right laugh. As she states in her disclaimer "No squirrels were harmed during the production of this story. Although priests, morticians, sluts, proctologists, Big Gulps, Debby Boone, Scottish names, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Volkswagens, `that ugly chic,' gym teachers, eating disorders, Dr. Pepper, and stalkers are all seriously maligned." (122) Indeed all these running jokes and more flicker (or stomp) through the story.

The same vein that pokes fun at these issues, turns others on their ear. For example, Mac's parents and extended family are totally accepting of Mac's sexuality and even more supportive of Randi as her new girlfriend. Neither parent thought the bulimic gym teacher, Sandra was good enough for their daughter. On the other hand, any living (as opposed to inflatable) girlfriend is the best they expect for their son, the proctologist. By the end of the journey Randi and Mac have developed a great deal of affection, companionship and (gasp) attraction. This situation embarrasses Mac and frightens Randi. The growing love between Mac and Randi as well as Mac's family's love balance some of the hard edged sarcasm and cynicism. The overall effect is a delightful if strange, little novel that brought many smiles and several laughs out loud. Occasionally the shifting narrative perspective between Randi, Mac and the squirrels is confusing. --Yes, squirrels. It's too hard to explain, just read the story yourself.-- However, there is fuel for lots of good endorphins here.

-MJ Lowe

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