A Perfect Romance, Layce Gardner

Perfect RomanceDana Dooley falls in love while attending an AA meeting with her BFF Trudy  (makeup artist in a funeral parlour) – who is hunting for sober men. Unable to bare losing contact with her new love object, Ellen, Dana claims to be an alcoholic whose father died when stuck up the chimney doing his Father Christmas act.

Unfortunately both Dana and Ellen have a girlfriend and do their best to resist the pull. But both feel their girlfriend is cheating on them, frequently absent and acting suspiciously. Dana tries to find evidence of her girlfriend Kimmy’s infidelity but without success

In a completely dysfunctional family setting we learn of Dana’s multiple U-Haul girlfriends called Lisa, her taxidermist Gran and her bigfoot brother the Mayor.  Meanwhile the relationship with Ellen grows, without going anywhere as neither can bare to finish with their respective GFs without proof they are being wronged.

The twist in the tale humorously appears as Dana catches Ellen having sex with Kimmy – who is, of course, both of their girlfriends. And the plot thickens…

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Layce Gardner  clearly has a wicked sense of humour and a dry sarcastic wit. Many of us will recognize parts of ourselves in Dana’s emotional neediness and fat girl insecurities:
“Dana didn’t have a full length mirror in her house because she wasn’t masochistic enough to want to see all of herself at the same time”

They characters are funny, zany and frequently daft. Despite making the Adam’s family look normal many are easy to relate to and empathise with – such as gran MawMaw’s despair when Dana uses her best spatula to clean bikini wax globs off the bathroom floor (enough said).

The plot is both simplistic – girl meets girl, falls in love, wants to dump current girl and consummate with the new one – and frighteningly complex at the same time. Every single character has found a way to make their lives as difficult as possible with failed relationships, alcoholism, mad career choices and lifelong character defects.

But while the first three-quarters of the book made me chuckle at the witty comedy of errors, the self-depreciating stream of consciousness, the silly but oh so typical lesbian romances, and the mad family dynamics, the last quarter lost me completely. The plot becomes increasingly bizarre and goes from being a daft but enjoyable romance to a hyper-active fantasy. The characters actions and behaviors are “in-character” but only if those characters are taken to an extreme beyond reality.

I was really enjoying the story and the characters before the plot became so outlandish, but the ‘National Enquirer’ type ending didn’t work for me and left me regretting a more normal denouement.

Product info:

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • First published 2013
  • Publisher: Bella Books (17 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159493343X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594933431
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