Sex was an evil, dirty thing and because I had so much of it with Geoffrey the Waiter, I knew I was going straight to hell. To make matters worse, Geoffrey was only nineteen, a sophomore at DePaul University (a Catholic school at that) and lived in a dorm room, which is where the immoral act took place. Of course I didn't know any of this when I left work and jumped on a bus taking me south on Michigan Avenue.
As promised, I met Geoffrey at five o'clock. He walked out of the restaurant through the revolving door. To his misfortune, he saw me standing on the corner beneath the yellow blast of a street lamp. I stood there, surrounded by a buzzing swarm of hungry and overstuffed Christmas shoppers who continued to flow in and out of the restaurant like cattle. Despite the fact he was wearing a thick winter parka, a cow-patterned scarf, a knitted black hat, and matching gloves, he was still sexier than I’d remembered. He stood there for a second, just staring. It was at that moment I realized I was still wearing the ridiculous Santa hat."Merry Christmas." I felt my chest tighten. I sounded way too enthusiastic. My loathing self-critic began its usual mantra in my head: Oh God, he thinks I'm desperate.He took a long deep breath, as if he were standing on the edge of a pool and had no idea how to swim. He moved toward me slowly through the crowd. I could see his hesitation. There was dreaded fear in each step. His cheeks were flushed pink from the cold. His hazel eyes held reflections of streetlights and neon signs.
"I didn't think you'd show up," he said.
"Sorry to disappoint you."
He offered me a soft smile. "No, I didn't mean it like that."
Nervous, I looked away. A woman with blonde hair was dragging her crying child down the street by the arm, swearing profusely. I turned back to Geoffrey and strands of my hair flew into my mouth, nearly gagging me. I brushed them away and tried to smile. "I made a horrible first impression on you and I'm sorry."
"It's okay,” he decided. “I forgive you." He smiled again. His dimples practically radiated, warming a frozen spot inside of me. He brushed at a few flakes of snow that had fallen on my cheek, stuck there like wet pieces of tissue paper. He wiped them away with his left index finger. I shivered when the knitted fingertip of his glove made contact with my almost frostbitten skin. "You're cute."
I knew I was blushing. “You don't have to lie."
"Why would I? I hardly even know you."
"We don’t have to do this. I mean, if you want out...” I shifted in my heavy black snow boots. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my old winter coat that was missing a button.
He looked at the top of my head. "Nice hat."
"I was forced to wear this and I'm having a bad hair day."
"Where do you wanna go?"
I shrugged. Then, like an idiot, I giggled. "I don't know."
"Are you hungry?"
"You want to get a drink?"
"I'd settle for some hot chocolate."
"I think I can arrange that. I have some hot chocolate back at my place." He reached for my hand, which was numb from the cold, and he held it in his. The softness of his glove rubbed against my palm.
He signaled for a cab. We were on the curb, directly across the street from the massive Art Institute. Beyond that I could see the cold, silver surface of Lake Michigan. "You have beautiful eyes," he said. His words and breath fell onto my lips in a small blast of warm air."Thanks," I replied. My teeth began to chatter but I knew it wasn't due to the temperature. I was filled with a sudden flash of anticipation.
**My thoughts**Tina is not an easy person to like. We meet her when her life is falling apart. Her boyfriend abruptly leaves her for another woman and takes everything with him. She is 30 years old and has basically never worked and her parents can totally spoil her rotten (though she tries to avoid doing that). So she gets a seasonal job selling shoes that she compares to working in a concentration camp [to a Jewish coworker]. Oh, and she had dressed up like a Native American to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a local shelter and then stole some of the food to eat.
Her best friend Darla isn't much better. She has a high-paying job and lives in a posh Chicago apartment rent-free because she is sleeping with the landlord. She adds to Tina's dysfunction by loaning her several thousand dollars to start over and then tells Tina that she has to accept every single date that comes her way, no matter who it is, as a part of her quest to find the perfect man.
Yet as Tina stumbles through the next several weeks, with one disaster after another, many of which are literally on the national stage, I started to almost feel sorry for her. She knows that she is a complete disaster area, and yet seems clueless about how to change this for herself.
For some unknown reason, Fate seems to take pity on her. I even had brief moments of almost being jealous. But I will say that I would prefer to not follow her path to get there.
She's like a lesson in the idea of keeping the faith that everything will work out in the end and to try to learn from your mistakes.
It wasn't my favorite book. I fully admit that. I had a hard time getting through the first third. But then I had an absolute need to find out what kind of trouble she would find herself in next and how she would get out of it. The last 2/3 went by quickly. I did want more with Oliver, though.
I consider this book perfect for anyone who loves the drama of "reality TV."
Thank you to the author and Bewitching Book Tours for my requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.