Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
So back in the day I was obsessed with Red Dress Ink books. I have all of the "Slightly" books still on my Kindle along with Kindle and paperback copies of books by Sarah Mlynowski, Melissa Senate, Brenda Janowitz, Carole Matthews, and other writers. I was in love with all things chick lit back in the day and these writers and their books delighted me.
Now reading the first two books in the "Slightly" series by Markham this weekend has me realizing that the main character Tracey kind of sucks. Okay, no kind of, she really does suck. Self absorbed and nasty about her friends and family (mentally and not to their faces), I had a hard time rooting for her. I liked her okay in this first book, but found myself getting increasingly irritated by her in book #2. You do have sympathy for Tracey, she is in a long time relationship (his name is Will) with a struggling actor who really doesn't care about her (just a few scenes with the guy should let you know that he is not in love with Tracy) and she is determined that while they spend the summer apart, she is going to work on improving herself for him.
Tracey is overweight and not really trying to do much about her apartment. She is just passing time until Will deigns to propose to her so she doesn't see much of a point in making her life better without him. When Will goes away during the summer to participate in Summer Stock, Tracey decides to focus on losing weight and reading books.
If Tracey was doing any of these things without Will being the main reason behind it, I would cheer her. Instead Tracey wrongly believes that if she was somehow perfect, Will will propose and they will live happily ever after.
Most of this book is just Tracey telling you how much weight she has lost and it seems barely eating any food. We also have her being highly judgmental about her two best friends (Raphael and Kate) who love Tracey as she is and keep telling her that Will really isn't the right one for her. Tracey also looks down her nose when it comes to her coworkers.
Tracey ends up meeting a guy named Buckley who she starts to think about romantically, but really wants to keep him on the back burner cause there is still Will.
If that isn't enough, Tracey goes into her blue-collar family that lives in Brookside, New York, about 500 miles away from her current location of New York, New York. She also looks down on her family due to her mother and sister not doing anything but living for their spouses and both being overweight. She seems indifferent towards her brothers.
I think if the book had shown Tracey really dealing with her relationship with Will and coming into her own I would have liked it better. The ending was such a non-starter for me when re-reading. It doesn't feel like Tracey learns anything since she still seems to hate being alone and doesn't get why her life didn't magically get better when she lost weight.
The other characters don't feel very developed to me. Will is, but Raphael reads like a gay stereotype. Tracey pretty much calls Kate a gold-digger. Or at least she is referred to that in book #2. Tracey's work friends seem pretty awesome and have a better handle on their own lives.
The writing is typical chick lit. The main premise of most of these stories is to tell a romance usually dealing with a single woman having semi-comedic situations happening to them. I guess for me while reading, there was not that much that made me laugh.
The setting of New York is used very well here. Tracey makes New York sound hot, gross, and smelly most of the time. I could feel the heat and also felt slightly hampered by her describing her tiny apartment.
The ending leaves Tracey on a different path than the one she envisioned.